He wasn’t expecting that
Clearly picking up from the political ether that the Mahon Tribunal report is coming out next week, Micheál Martin wants it to be known (via the Irish Times) that at least after the fact, there’s a new sheriff in town:
In August 2007, then Minister for Finance Brian Cowen gave an address to the Humbert Summer School. It’s worth reading it all (scroll down to comments) to see the hubris that characterised this vintage of Fianna Fail – at a time when the banking system was already fatally compromised.
Note this part:
They [the public] did so in spite of the unprecedented pressure which he [Bertie] had come through in the first weeks of the campaign. The public showed that they have an innate sense of fair play and perspective which is willing to hear all of the information before reaching a conclusion. It remains a fact that confidential material was selectively leaked by a person or persons unknown with the sole intent of causing Bertie Ahern significant electoral damage. Only material which might cause damage was leaked, while other material was withheld.
No person should have to go through what Bertie Ahern endured in those weeks and we can learn a lot from the public’s balanced and reflective response. After ten years, the public were not going to be rushed into making a judgement on the Taoiseach. They know him pretty well by now and they understand that he is not motivated by personal gain. They have seen the progress made under his leadership. He has never been a specialist in the soundbite approach to politics, but he has more than made up for this in the substance of his achievements.
Thus Cowen presents not just a judgement on the Mahon leaks around this time — with sources that only the Irish Times could reveal — but also a claim that he and the electorate at large had come to the conclusion that there were no flawed pedigree issues with Bertie. Indeed, Cowen’s reputation was enhanced at the time by the perception that he had taken the FF election campaign by the scruff of the neck from a Mahon-distracted Bertie and led the party to a historic victory. Which part of that legacy will Micheál Martin be disowning?