Ahern accused of trying to 'take credit for the Gregory Deal'

Mon, Oct 19, 2009, 01:00

INDEPENDENT TD Maureen O’Sullivan has accused former taoiseach Bertie Ahern of claiming credit for the 1982 Gregory Deal in his recently published autobiography.

Under the deal, the late Tony Gregory secured a regeneration plan for his constituency in return for supporting a minority Fianna Fáil government led by Charlie Haughey.

Ms O’Sullivan, Mr Gregory’s former election agent who won the byelection in June brought about by his death, said her constituency organisation had been “taken aback” by Mr Ahern’s interpretation of events.

“We’re all quite bemused and somewhat taken aback by the way in which Bertie seems to be taking the credit for the Gregory Deal, and that he would do this now after Tony died, when the people involved in it knew the extent of the work Tony put in,” she said.

In his autobiography Mr Ahern tells of driving Mr Haughey to Summerhill for talks with Mr Gregory, and waiting in his car. “Afterwards, Charlie got into the car and said, ‘You’re going to get your plan, Bertie, but he’s going to get the credit’, ” Mr Ahern said.

Ms O’Sullivan said Gregory would have disagreed strongly with what Mr Ahern had stated in his book. “I could imagine the robust defence Tony would make . . .The sadness is that Bertie would try to take credit now that Tony’s dead,” she said.

“Equally Mr Haughey is not around to verify what he said.”

Ms O’Sullivan said Mr Ahern, who was Fianna Fáil party whip at the time, could have pushed for such a plan before Mr Gregory did so, “if he had the political will”.

In his last media interview before his death in January, Gregory said Mr Ahern never forgave him for the high profile he received as a result of the deal.

“And whatever problems there were with Ahern not being involved with the thing . . . now I’ve no doubt Haughey probably went out to Ahern and said, ‘Ah that f***er Gregory didn’t want you in there’, or something, you know?” Gregory told Hot Press magazine.

Asked if Mr Ahern did not like that he was “left out of the equation”, Gregory said: “I think Ahern was peeved that Haughey was dealing with me by himself. And all this stuff was getting front-page headlines: what Gregory’s doing for Dublin Central. Meanwhile, the . . . chief whip, is getting no coverage. So, that’s bound to p*** anybody off. And it . . . p***ed Ahern off big time. And he didn’t forgive.”