He was always the man of the people, quaffing a pint with the lads at Fagans, eschewing any interest in the trappings of power. BUT Behind the well cultivated image, Bertie Ahern , former Taoiseach of Celtic Tiger Ireland, was always deeply deeply interested in money. So much so that he claimed the 'artists' exemption from paying tax on the sales of his recent 'memoirs'. He also is entitled to a permanent driver and car for life, and will be accompanied by a Garda driver for the rest of his days, as well as being in receipt of his Prime Ministerial, index linked, pension, from the day he resigned the post, this despite the fact he is still in receipt of his handsome salary as a TD (or member of the Irish Parliament). His love of money has now taken him to the point of appearing in an advert for the Irish version of Rupert Murdoch's 'News of the World' where he now appears as a regular 'sports columnist'. He appears crouched in a kitchen press, and appears as the house owner opens his cupboard door. I can think of another enclosed space that a lot of people would like him consigned to, a space with a lot thicker and more durable walls than a cupboard...
Apparently he did it for 'the cráic' (the fun of it), he is just a japester and a barrel of laughs is'nt he?? He did'nt fiddle whilst Rome burnt, but its good to see someone seems immune to concerns about dignity of office, and what a former taoiseach and sitting TD will do to garner a few extra grubby notes..
Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called for the ending of the perk which provides two salaried secretaries to former Taoisigh, including Bertie Ahern. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was commenting on the controversy over the former Taoiseach’s participation in a tv ad for his News of the World column.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“The sight of Bertie Ahern’s head appearing in a kitchen press has caused amusement to some and disgust to many. His venture into tv advertising to promote his column in the News of the World adds to his already tarnished political reputation.
“The serious side of this, though, is that the State is paying very generous pensions and perks to former Taoisigh, including Bertie Ahern.
“Last June it was revealed in reply to a Sinn Féin Dáil Question that the Department of the Taoiseach is paying salaries to secretarial assistants employed by four former Taoisigh, including Bertie Ahern.
“As a TD, Bertie Ahern is already entitled to salaries for a parliamentary assistant and a secretarial assistant. But according to the current Taoiseach’s reply, Deputy Ahern also benefits from the former Taoisigh scheme by having the salaries of two secretarial assistants paid for up to five years after his retirement as Taoiseach, and the salary of one secretarial assistant indefinitely after five years.
“In Deputy Ahern’s case the secretarial allowance amounted to €114,000 in 2009 alone.
“This lavish expenditure on former Taoisigh is in addition to their very generous pensions and the State cars and Garda drivers at their disposal.“Home help hours for elderly citizens are being cut and we must ask how many such hours would this scheme pay for? It should be ended and the funds made available for a useful purpose