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Ahern to face Dáil questions over €50,000 loan not repaid

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posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 05:03 PM

Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, today faces questioning in Parliament after he admitted accepting interest-free personal loans totalling £33,600 (€49,500) while Finance Minister in the 1990s.

The Taoiseach said that eight friends had banded together to lend him £15,100 (€22,500) in December 1993, when he was separating from his wife Miriam, and four friends gave him a further £18,500 (€26,500) in 1994. The loans have never been repaid and he has never paid interest on them, he confirmed.

Mr Ahern made the admissions last night in a candid and emotional television interview on the Six One programme on RTE, an Irish broadcaster. Gerry Brennan, his solicitor, had approached the group for help without his knowledge, he said.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will face a Dáil onslaught today from the Opposition, after he acknowledged last night that he has not repaid any of a €50,000 loan given to him by businessmen in 1993 and 1994.

The money from the 12-strong group, who he described as long-time friends, was used to pay costs surrounding his marital separation, including legal bills.

While the Tánaiste and Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell stayed silent following the Taoiseach's 20-minute interview, the Opposition said Mr Ahern must now clarify that all tax has been paid.

They said he must explain his declaration that he had appointed some of the group to State boards "because they were friends". At least four of the group, including Des Richardson, David McKenna, Jim Nugent and Joe Burke, have served on State boards.

A spokesman for the Tánaiste said he was "making no comment on the matter tonight".

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Mr Ahern should not have accepted the money in the first place, given that he was then minister for finance. He said the situation is now "very grave" and Mr Ahern now had serious questions to answer with respect to tax issues and ethics legislation.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will face a Dáil onslaught today from the Opposition, after he acknowledged last night that he has not repaid any of a €50,000 loan given to him by businessmen in 1993 and 1994.

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This is causing quite a stir among the Irish media. It's turning into a huge scandal. Maybe it's been blown out of proportion. His position seems to becoming more untenable everyday.

posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 04:14 AM
So we have two issues here. The first one I have a problem with, the issue of tax evasion. Personally, I don't think gifts should be taxed, it's already been taxed. Of course it is Ahern who is standing by the fact that the money was loaned

Which leads to the real problem, which is that people who loaned him this money have profited from his position coincidentally. His insising that the money was loaned leads one to believe there was impropriety in this respect, because otherwise why not just own up to the tax side of the problem?

Anyway, with so many people involved, seems it should be hard to keep the story straight. I am not familiar with the political implications surrounding this guy's position. Can you give us the big picture in a nutshell? What are the impacts to the country if this takes him out?

posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 08:03 AM
Bertie (as he is known in Ireland) is the Irish Prime Minister. He has been in Power for over ten years and has always been the 'common man' in the government. If he left there would be chaos. His party Fianna Fail are in a coalition government with the Progressive Democrats. I feel he is going to have to give up his position. The media are relentlessy chasing this and he will be a lame duck taoiseach if he stays in power.

Another issue that has since come to light:

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Pressure mounted on Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern on Friday to explain a fee he received 12 years ago as finance minister that has sparked a political furore some commentators believe could topple his government.

Ahern, already under fire over a 50,000-euro (34,000 pound) loan from a group of friends in late 1993 which he has not repaid, insisted on Thursday he had broken no rules in accepting 8,000 pounds for speaking at a dinner in Manchester in 1994.

Irish premier since 1997 and facing a general election in the next nine months, Ahern mentioned the payment in a televised interview this week to discuss money he received from friends 13 years ago to help with legal costs of his marital separation.

The Progressive Democrats, junior coalition partner in government with Ahern's Fianna Fail party, initially defended his actions in accepting the loans but later questioned the speaking fee in comments the Irish Independent newspaper said "effectively put a gun" to Ahern's head.

"I have to say that there are very significant matters of concern which are not completely put at rest by the facts now in the public domain," newly appointed Progressive Democrats leader and deputy prime minister Michael McDowell said.

posted on May, 6 2007 @ 07:30 AM

Tánaiste and leader of the Progressive Democrats Michael McDowell has called on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to make a full public statement about his finances.

At a news conference this morning he confirmed that the PDs would not be withdrawing from Government, despite widespread media speculation to the contrary.

In a statement, Mr McDowell said he believed information given by the Taoiseach on his personal finances had been anything but complete.

He said it is now appropriate that a full statement be made by Mr Ahern and he said that the information given by the Taoiseach last autumn was very different from the information now available from other sources.

Everybody expected the PD's to pull out of government this morning. As it stands they seem to be all over the place. They are saying that the Taoiseach is basically 'untrustworthy' yet they are willing to stay in government with him. Albeit, the elections will be in about 2 weeks time.

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