Payments To Politicians
Sir, - After his Dail statement on the £30,000 he admitted receiving from a building firm, Mr Burke, Minister for Foreign Affairs had the gall to give himself final absolution by announcing that he was "now drawing a line in the sand ..."
I think you - rightly - referred to it in an Editorial as "barefaced bluff". "Outraged" is the mildest term I can think of for my own reaction to his presumption that the public could be fobbed off with such a piece of brazen effrontery.
As bad, if not worse, has been the corkscrew performance of the Taoiseach turning and twisting every which way until coming up with Tribunal terms of reference designed to get Mr Burke off the hook, displaying en route the unflattering traits of character attributed to him by his former Taoiseach, Mr Haughey.
The leader of the PDs, the Government rump, is reported as saying: "We can't go on week in week out with more rumoours, more innuendo ..[FS." The £30,000 payment to Mr Burke is no rumour. He doesn't deny he received it. It is a key issue.
In response to opposition questions on the £30,000, Mr Burke replied: "I didn't feel compromised. I don't feel compromised. I would not have felt compromised in any way in relation to it ..." He also admitted that "with the benefit of hindsight ... I exposed myself to the risks of being the subject matter of malicious allegations ..." The appointment to the prestigious office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of someone who was capable of seeing only with hindsight, that the acceptance of £30,000 was sure to compromise him places question marks against his fitness for the office and against the judgement of the Taoiseach in making the appointment knowing that Mr Burke had received the money.
Where, one must ask, is the squeaky clean Government promised by Mr Ahern during the recent election? Plusca change . .. Yours, etc., Patrick Gleeson,