THE Taoiseach's brother Maurice Ahern has criticised the lack of financial accountability in the Fianna Fail organisation in Dublin Central.
Ahern complained, at a number of meetings held in the Taoiseach's constituency base at St Luke's in Drumcondra, about the way the local organisation was being run. His public remarks surprised many delegates at the monthly meetings of the Comhairle Dail Ceanntair (CDC), which is dominated by supporters of the Taoiseach.
Ahern . . . who is a member of Dublin City Council . . . explicitly criticised the lack of a financial report at the monthly CDC meetings late last year. He asked why party members had not been given any records about the state of the constituency finances.
These complaints were repeated several times before the end of 2007. At a recent meeting, delegates were informed that the balance in the constituency account was 115.
This figure is in sharp contrast to the 80,000 to 100,000 which, the Mahon tribunal heard last week, is held in a building trust account. It was from this account that a 30,000 house loan to Celia Larkin was drawn in 1993. The 'B/T' account is controlled by the trustees of St Luke's . . . Joe Burke, Des Richardson and Tim Collins. The trustees are very close associates of the Taoiseach.
"It is strange that while the CDC has no money, there is a huge balance in another account with money given to Fianna Fail, but which no member of the party seems to have access to, " one party source in Dublin Central said.
There is increasing unease in party circles at the latest financial information, especially that Fianna Fail money was used for non-Fianna Fail purposes. A number of national executive members are known to have discussed Ahern's future yesterday. But there was no evidence that a figure of stature in the party is about to openly question the Taoiseach's continuation in office.
"At the moment it is not in our interests to undermine him, as large elements of the public still feel he has been picked upon by the tribunal and the media, " one party representative said.
Neither Brian Cowen nor any other cabinet member has given any indication that Ahern's position has become untenable. But among some backbench TDs there is a belief that Ahern could be vulnerable if he is exposed to further damaging outings at Dublin Castle.
"He's on the rocks and he can't take another day like Friday, " one younger TD said yesterday. "This can't go on forever, " a seasoned, rural deputy admitted.
An informed source said that Fianna Fail headquarters is unlikely to hold an internal inquiry into the unusual financial affairs.
"I wouldn't envisage that.
We are dealing with an unusual and difficult situation and the bottom line is that the money was repaid to the party so we were not out of pocket, " a senior party source said.
Celia Larkin was making no public comment yesterday. The Taoiseach's former partner has repaid the £30,000 loan plus interest to the Fianna Fail St Luke's trust since Christmas. The property which was purchased by Larkin in Phibsboro in Dublin is now valued at about 700,000. It remains unclear if there are taxation implications arising from the Larkin loan.