Just when we all thought the thing was done and dusted, a cloud no bigger than the High Court’s hand…
It seems that the hot money is on the Ahern Government continuing with the rump of two Progressive Democrats brought on board by offering Seanad seats to departed brethren. That makes 80 seats. The Independents, who never like short Dails, will tend to support a Fianna Fáil government anyway. Two of those Independents are former FF members: Jackie Healey Rae in Kerry South, and Beverley Flynn of Mayo. Ahern and FF are thus one further seat short of a bare majority. The two Dublin Independents, Finian McGrath in North Central and Tony Gregory in Central, are both making frantic signals that they wish to snuggle up to FF. FF can ease the wheels of democracy further by having a Ceann Comhairle from FG or (more likely?) Labour. So that’s fixed.
There’s a story in today’s Sunday Tribune that might disturb this arithmetic:
[Beverley] Flynn sued RTÉ over broadcasts in 1998 reporting that she had assisted tax evasion by setting up bogus non-resident accounts while working for National Irish Bank. She lost the High Court case in 2001 and costs estimated at 1.5m were awarded against her.
According to court documents filed by RTÉ last week, she owes the station 2.84m in taxed costs, including interest, for the longest-running libel case in Irish legal history.
And RTÉ are now filing to have her declared bankrupt. An undischarged bankrupt is not eligible to be a TD.