The foul rag and bone shop of St Luke’s
Bertie Ahern used a bit of Yeats (the municipal gallery poem) in his retirement speech to the O’Donovan Rossa cumann this evening. The latter-years Yeats liked to tour through the memories and link them and and so it’s not surprising that there were echoes of Bertie’s more difficult moments even in the sanctuary of the friendly low profile audience he used for the speech –
When people like me and Liam Cooper, who is today our chairman, Paul Kiely and, of course, Miriam were young men and women and starting off in the O’Donovan Rossa Cumann, we were always encouraged by those strong and experienced people who had been members for decades.
Where have we heard that first name before? –
Earlier at the tribunal, the former treasurer of Bertie Ahern’s constituency said he was unaware that many thousands of pounds were being held in accounts connected to organisation. But Liam Cooper, now chairman of the former Taoiseach’s O’Donovan Rossa Cumann, said the money was held by trustees of St Luke’s and he had no causes for concern.
Mr Cooper said the accounts he was aware of were the official O’Donovan Rossa and Comhairle Dáil Ceanntar accounts, which only contained a couple of hundred pounds. They were mainly used to pay affiliation fees and for presentations.
Mr Cooper said he was unaware that there were many thousands of pounds in other accounts known as the CODR, BT and Number One constituency accounts, controlled by St Luke’s trustees. Mr Cooper was treasurer of the Comhairle Dáil Ceanntar from 1994 to 2001, but said there was little interest ‘from the floor’ about these accounts during AGMs or monthly meetings. He said these matters were dealt with casually.
He could not explain why there was no reference to any of these accounts in constituency minutes until this year. Mr Cooper also could not explain why 24 people were asked to contribute to the £56,000 cost of buying St Luke’s when the old office in Amiens Street was sold for the exact same sum.
A churlish suggestion from this blogger is that the forthcoming Finance Bill — which is the government’s reason for staying in office — should have an amendment requiring that anyone getting a 6 figure public sector pension produce a tax clearance certificate.