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OPINION: Effects of rumours of Don Berto's return

January 21st, 2019 12:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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THE fact that Bertie Ahern, the former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach, should be ‘reintroduced’ as a ‘credible instead of a disgraced Taoiseach’ had such a deleterious effect on the inner organs of a government ‘special adviser’ that the man almost felt ‘sick’. 

According to a report in the Indo/Sindo, the incident happened while Mr Ahern was being interviewed on RTÉ Radio One. To make matters worse, the physiological response of the adviser was aggravated by the fact that Mr Ahern always has been reluctant to address in the media the Mahon Tribunal’s findings. 

We send our sympathy to the unfortunate adviser and hope that he made a speedy recovery, but we also have some sympathy for Mr Bertie. It is very likely that memories of the Mahon Tribunal are tinged with intense distaste and much aversion, and we’re sure that he’d prefer if people forgot about that dreadful time. 

After all, when an ordinary human being has been subjected to a Tribunal’s investigative techniques any recollection of its activities is sure to trigger an attack of the creepy-crawlies, as was the case with victims of the Spanish Inquisition. 

 

No prying around

It wasn’t easy for Mr Ahern to have all those people rooting around in his finances. Even as recently as last month, German television resurrected the planning tribunal controversy during an interview with him. His reaction?  He angrily stormed out of the studio;  and that was the end of that!  

Viewers were impressed. After all, is there any other politico (excluding Trump, of course) who can dismiss so thoroughly journos who examine his private life for political stuff?  And he’s quite right! How dare they! Who did those Germans think they were, persecuting our Bertie like that?

However, with regard to the physiological effect that our once great Taoiseach had on Minister Coveney’s political adviser, we are quite sure that there is no possibility at all of the  ‘getting sick’ syndrome spreading from the journalistic world into mainstream life.

Nor should Don Berto’s probable return to national politics be criticised for what is probably a psychosomatic condition that affects the lower part of the alimentary canal. Certainly not!

For instance, when Don Berto is invited to re-join the Soldiers of Destiny and (mirabile dictu) if he again becomes a TD (or Minister for Finance in a born-again FG-FF government), there is absolutely no possibility that his return will precipitate an outbreak of stomach cramps, diarrhoea, a looseness of the bowels, an onslaught of  the trots, the skits and, worse of all, a dose of Montezuma’s (or Bertie’s?) revenge!

 

Anti-FG bug

But, we also admit that it would be no laughing matter if the well-being of government ministers and the entire stable of political advisers were endangered. Thankfully, an annihilating anti-politico bug that induces ‘sickness’ is unknown in medical science and (as far as this scribe knows) ‘carriers’ of such a virus do not exist. 

Nevertheless, some conspiracy theorists are convinced that Fine Gael already has contracted a self-exterminating disease through its close contact with Fianna Fáil. 

An argument occasionally put forward is that the Fine Gael propensity to ‘sickness’ is  characterised by political signs and opinions which, by a freak of nature, are uncannily similar to those of Fianna Fáil. 

Indeed, political scientists tend to describe the syndrome as the Tweedle Dee-Tweedle Dum complex of symptoms because of the  biological relationship between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. In regard to running the country, the two parties resemble peas in a pod. 

Consequently, if a so-called Don Berto ‘sickness’ bug really exists, it is in both parties’ blood stream, and is resilient. And, of course, there is always the possibility that if it might be gaining immunity, with the potential to infect the entire political organism. For instance, our spies in the Dáil tell us that sometimes FG and FF politicos can be seen hurrying to the ‘jacks’ in a state of great discomfort that is in no way attributable to the drink taken the night before. 

 

Reincarnation 

Thankfully, politically induced stomach-upsets, such as the one that caused physical and mental suffering to Mr Vlad’s adviser, are short-lived and not too dangerous. Nevertheless, a GP should be informed as quickly as possible – which is no problem for Fine Gael, a party that has a medical man as leader. A visit to his office, we presume, does the trick.

But to return to Don Berto and to the possibility that the said gent might be preparing a return to Fianna Fáil and to national politics, well, already whiskers are twitching in expectation that his political reincarnation is on the cards.

His return is inevitable if the ‘false news’ currently circulating has any impact. The story has gone out that the media was responsible for hounding him from office. Another ridiculous rumour is that Mickey Martin is trying to ensure he remains in the political wilderness! 

Indeed Mickey’s hard-line approach to Don Berto has not changed since the day he moved to expel him from the party following the Mahon Tribunal report. (In fact, Don Berto resigned before Mickey could get the knife in).

Calls are now being made to bring him back because of his leadership skills. What’s more,  discreet moves are taking place against a background of a booming property market which, as a Dublin commentator put it, is in ‘full freak-out mode, just as in the bad old days when Bertie held sway.’  

Even his public statements are becoming more daring.  In regard to Brexit, he urged Taoiseach Varadkar to back Theresa May to ‘avoid chaos’ as it was in no one’s interest to see her and her government destabilised. Last week the Sunday Times gave him the front page to urge Britain to postpone its departure from the EU.

 

Staying alert

Ironic too that this week he’s booked to give a keynote speech at the Killarney Economic Conference on the challenges Brexit poses for this country. His Nemesis, Mickey Martin, also has been invited, but attention will focus on Bertie. He’s the chap with something to say.

Nor has he neglected to polish his international political image.  

Last October he was appointed to chair the Bougainville Referendum Commission, which is responsible for preparing an independence referendum in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, in 2019.

Clearly when it comes to politics, local and worldwide, he’s keeping his hand in, even if his participation tends to be interpreted in the Irish media as a token involvement and a bit of a laugh. 

Nevertheless Mickey would do well to stay alert and continue with his watchful prudence!  Why? Because it’s rather unsettling to have the Don back in town as a sort of big shot – well, almost a big shot!

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