herald

Monday 11 December 2017

... while he still lives the Celtic Tiger life

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has three private sources of income along with nearly €150,000 a year for his salary as a TD and his minsterial pension.

A new register of TDs interests show that Mr Ahern almost doubled the number of speaking engagements abroad last year -- earning a potential €146,000 for just five of the speeches.

The 2009 Register of Interests for Dail deputies, shows that in his declaration, Mr Ahern discloses that he made 16 foreign trips abroad last year.

Many of these were paid speaking engagements in locations including Honduras, Nigeria, Dubai and New York.

Five are listed as organised by the Washington Speakers Bureau. Its website lists the fee for Mr Ahern as a minimum of $40,000 (€29,200), making for a potential income for these five engagements of €146,000.

According to his register of interests, he has three private sources of income on top of his €98,424 salary as a TD and his ministerial pension of €50,000.

Mr Ahern is also a sports columnist for the News of the World, and is also earning income from the publication of his autobiography last year.

He listed a trip to Bari, Italy, at the end of March, 2009, as a guest of the Football Association of Ireland. He said the trip was "in recognition of my support for the FAI".

His declaration also emphasises his voluntary work: "Since retiring as Taoiseach, I have attended a large number of functions for charities, practically all on the island of Ireland, for which no costs are received."

He is also a director of the property development firm, Park Green International, which is based in Newry, Co Down, and a voluntary member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council.

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch said it appeared that Mr Ahern had developed a "jet set lifestyle" since retiring as Taoiseach.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen disclosed interests in three rented properties: two in Dublin and one in Leeds.

Fianna Fail Galway West TD Frank Fahey remains the biggest property owner in the Dail with interests in 18 different properties in Galway, Limerick, Brussels, France, Portugal and other locations.

FF Cork East TD Ned O'Keeffe has shares in 35 different companies, including Aer Lingus.

See page 14

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