Former Central Remedial Clinic chief executive Paul Kiely had Fianna Fáil links

Kiely, a key part of former taoiseach’s ‘Drumcondra Mafia’, among number of board members associated with Bertie Ahern

Paul Kiely, the recently-retired

chief executive of the Central Remedial Clinic, is just one of a number of figures from the organisation with strong connections to Fianna Fáil, and Bertie Ahern in particular.

Mr Kiely and Mr Ahern go back to the 1970s, when they worked in the Mater hospital together, alongside the now deceased Tony Kett, who later became a Fianna Fáil senator and was described by Mr Ahern as one of his "closest friends".

Mr Kett went on to work as an administrator in the CRC, which also nominated him as a candidate for the Seanad.

A key part of Mr Ahern's "Drumcondra Mafia", Mr Kiely was sometimes perceived as the brains of the former taoiseach's formidable constituency organisation from the 1970s onwards.

Inner circle

However, those who worked with Mr Ahern during his time as Taoiseach say Mr Kiely was never seen around central government, as others in the inner circle were.

“He was certainly part of that Drumcondra set but we would never really have seen him around Government Buildings,” said one source, while another said his involvement may have dropped off in later years.

“In my time I don’t think I ever saw him in Government Buildings, my sense of it is he just kind of dropped away in terms of political stuff. But there is no doubt he is Bertie’s pal. You would often hear Bertie had gone off to meet him or have a pint.”

Mr Kiely was also appointed to the board of the CIE in 1998, which came with a £5,000 fee, and ended up as chairman of the company’s audit committee.

However, those around the Dublin Central constituency say his involvement decreased during Mr Ahern's later years in power.

St Luke's
"My experience of him he was a nice person, a reasonable person," one figure involved in the constituency said. "But he kind of went out of it around 2007, I didn't see him much towards the end of Bertie's time."

Despite this, Mr Kiely was still there in St Luke’s on December 30th, 2010, when Mr Ahern announced his retirement from politics.

His spell as chief executive of the CRC stretched from 1988 until 2012, but he still remains on as a director.

Other board members include former Fianna Fáil chief whip and Charles Haughey ally Vincent Brady, as well as James Nugent, who told the Mahon tribunal he gave Mr Ahern £2,500 as part of whip-around.

The CRC's founder Lady Valerie Goulding struck up a friendship with Mr Haughey after his arms trail in the 1970s, and Mr Haughey headed up the CRC's fundraising committee.

Lady Goulding was later made a Taoiseach’s appointee to the Seanad by Jack Lynch

Her son Hamilton now sits on the board, and Des Peelo, the accountant who represented Mr Ahern and Mr Haughey during tribunal hearings, was also a director of the CRC.