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A few disgruntled correspondents..

"Charles J Haughey should be remembered for all he has done for the people of his constituency of North Dublin, for the people of Ireland, for the people in his own party, for all he has done for his friends, and all he has done for people around the world"?.
* Charles J Haughey stood in our kitchen and said he would get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the Stardust fire in which 48 children perished. He could have. He didn't.
* Charles J haughey left his legacy of tribunals of investigation, supposedly to disclose rampant corruption, mostly within Fianna Fail and costing the taxpayer millions more.
* Charles J Haughey was handed most of the 1,615 questionable cheques pre-signed by the now Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
* Charles J Haughey callously helped himself to the cash collected for his friend'smedical bills.
* Charles J Haughey's friends are among the wealthiest in Ireland. Developers, bankers and landbank owners, made rich by re-zoning which is being investigated in, yes, even more tribunals.
* Charles J Haughey allegedly "gave" the pensioners "free travel". I thought the public transport system belongs to the people of Ireland and not one man or political party.
Charles Haughey's legacy is to leave Bertie Ahern in charge.
* The man says he is a socialist but favours building private fee-paying clinics on our public hospital property, as we watch the public system go down in flames. * The new road infrastructure paid for by taxpayers will remain in public hands - except for the part the toll plazas stand upon. Eighteen more are planned
* Infants, old folks and teenagers at risk, the most vunerable of all in Irish society, are grossly abused by a system lacking leadership as we brag about our "wealth".
* Suicide rates are the highest in Europe.
* Road deaths are the worst in Europe.
* Shannon Airport has been the launch pad for genocide in Iraq.
The future looks brighter than ever, if you listen to the politicians.
PAUL O TOOLE,
THORNDALE PARK,
ARTANE, D 5
* Perhaps Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fail and the rest of those culpable for the Haughey years might plead would-be Stormont bomber Michael Stone's defence - It wasn't reality, it was "performance art."
DR NIGEL P. COOKE,
WYTHBURN CRESCENT,
ST HELENS, LANCS.
* Before I left 40 years ago, I with a lot of others knew Haughey was bent but it suited his party mates to turn a blind eye, including Blank Cheque Bertie. To think this galah got a state funeral makes my blood boil. Haughey's estate should be stripped bare, but that won't happen. Wake up Ireland, it appears the politicians can fool all of the eejits all of the time.
JAMES ROGERS,
FREMANTLE WA 6163,
AUSTRALIA
A note penned from one of Charlie,s pals rebuking the Indo for "imputations" in an article:
I refer to your coverage of my press statement on the Moriarty Tribunal. It is bad reporting to state that I took a "swipe at its refusal to accept at face value his own claims that he received no favours from Mr Haughey in exchange for the €95,000 he paid to have Mr Haughey's Celtic Mist Yacht repaired".
Firstly what my statement actually says is that "The Moriarty Tribunal cast doubts over my motives for making payments to Charlie Haughey, not accepting that it was done out of pure friendship". It's a big leap for you to twist this by saying I took a swipe because the Tribunal refused to accept my claim that I did not receive favours. Let us be clear, the Tribunal did not make any finding to the effect that I received favours from Charlie Haughey.
You can verify this fact by reading the actual report. You should also note the very opening wording of my statement in which I refer to the Moriarty Tribunal exonerating me and finding that "I received no favours from Charlie Haughey". I also stated that "The key point is that no favours were sought and none were received".
You misconstrued my statement further by juxtaposing reference to the payment of €95,000 in respect of Celtic Mist. I did not specify the payments in my statement and nor did I refer to Celtic Mist in the context of "receiving no favours".
I am looking for an immediate correction. It is not just sloppy journalism; the clear implication is that the Tribunal found that I had received favours, and that I criticised them for not accepting my claims that I had received no favours.
DERMOT F. DESMOND,
DUBLIN 1
PD leader Michael McDowell continues his effort to frighten the electorate by branding the opposition as "the slump coalition". However, the next election is likely be fought out on a somewhat different battleground than that preferred by the current coalition partners.
In reality, there will be little difference in the broad economic and taxation policies of either coalition team put before the electorate, or indeed, in practice after the election.
Also, there appear to be few fears among the electorate that any mainstream party will adopt a "tax and spend" approach.
The fact that more of the electorate seem to favour Labour over the PDs as potential coalition partners for Fianna Fail, suggests that there is little fear of an economic slump as an outcome of the election.
Where the election battle should be fought is on the ability of either side to get the public services to work effectively and efficiently, making them accountable for delivering value for the enormous sums of public money being spent annually.
In this regard, the contest will be between the proven inability of the current coalition to achieve this objective against the unproven ability of the rainbow coalition to deliver the necessary leadership and change.
Will it be the devil you know or the devil you don't know?
PETER MOLLOY,
HADDINGTON PARK,
GLENAGEARY,
CO DUBLIN
IT IS not conceivable that Bertie Ahern did not know the approximate use to which Charles Haughey intended to put the unspecified sums in at least some of the blank cheques, signed by him and freely handed to his party leader.
Their destination and the debiting of them would have been a regular part of any visual audit of the account over which Ahern had a major responsibility, reinforced by the fact that he quickly became the main signatory of cheques.
It was not Mr Haughey's personal secretary Eileen Foy's job to question the amounts, or where they went, and it is clear from the report that she did all that was required of her. But it was Ahern's job to check on those issues, just as it had been of previous signatories. George Colley would not have baulked at this issue nor been slow to question the detail.
There was always a problem within the party over Haughey and finance. After he became leader there had been a widely known tussle with Des Hanafin over the control and audit of incoming donations, a tussle that Hanafin fought bravely but lost. Haughey, in that case, wanted to know where donated money came from, how much from individual donors, and under his control. He ordered the submission to him of documents, and shared the information from them with those helping him financially, including Des Traynor.
This fact was part of what soured the atmosphere and added to the thread of fear running through Fianna Fail under his leadership. The likelihood, if not the certainty, that the leader's account might be plundered - as it was - could be taken as read and should have been addressed. At the very least, the facts about it should have been noted.
Not only was Ahern best-placed to do this; he had a duty to do it. That he chose the course of action criticised by Judge Michael Moriarty as "inappropriate and imprudent", is a euphemistic way of defining his failure. And it is hard not to form the opinion that Ahern's handling was either because he did not have the courage to confront Haughey's insatiable greed, or that he connived in it.
That he simply signed the cheques, as he said on Wednesday, because it was the practice "that everybody did in the country", is not acceptable. He told us, had he known what was happening with the money in the account, he would "never have signed the cheques". This is disingenuous to the point of being laughable. If he did not think to ask questions, how do we believe he would have had the courage simply to stop signing?
This highly intelligent politician, Haughey's right-hand man for many years and a close and admiring associate up to the man's death in June, expressed in the graveside speech, has given too many glib answers to serious questions.
It was little short of an insult to the media he daily courts when, on Thursday, after absolving himself from knowledge, responsibility or blame over Moriarty, he complained to them about unfavourable coverage over his own finances.
And it was an insult to the public at large when he claimed that he had brought in legislation that would ensure the practices would not happen again. The legislation he refers to is deeply flawed and in need of amendment, as has been admitted.
What kind of a man is this, whose glib answers ring false, but are then endorsed by varying majorities of the public in opinion polls? And what kind of a public is it, that is failing to listen to or assess the manifold evidence that Bertie Ahern "undoubtedly facilitated" Haughey's misuse of funds?
Bertie was not treated unfairly in respect of his own still puzzling financial affairs any more than Haughey was treated unfairly. We have paid huge sums of taxpayers' money for nine years of sustained picking apart of Haughey's financial dealings, dealings based on the same principle, of supposedly unsolicited and supposedly unrewarded gifts of money.
Both Haughey's and Ahern's sets of circumstances came to light by accident, and in the most bizarre of fashions. This did not make them any less true nor did they undermine their value.
Bertie Ahern is not in the same league as Haughey, even if he did aid and abet him in his wrong-doing. But it is nauseating to see the Taoiseach completely shrugging off his part - not insubstantial - in what Haughey did. And the same can be said for those few in Fianna Fail who have so far commented, avoiding all issues of substance, putting the onus of judgment on "history".
The Opposition, despite the lack of public support are right to sustain their questioning and their criticisms. They should make their attacks stiffer in the new year,
There is a huge deficit in the way the Government is spending itself out of criticism and towards an electoral combat in which the issues that have come to light this year, must be included, since one of its administrators leads the present government. (Irish Independent)