'You've got to decode Bertie," was Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin's appraisal of Bertie Ahern's tenure as taoiseach in an episode of RTÉ's Bertie documentary last year.

Ahern won three elections and his achievements in the North cannot be taken away from him – but history may not be kind to him if the 'Bord Snip Nua' report is anything to go by.

While Ahern was the master of obfuscation, Colm McCarthy is a straight talker. McCarthy doesn't do sentiment and his clinical plan to fix the country's balance sheet is testament to that.

Ahern's way of doing business was very different, as he fixed problems and won favour with interest groups such as the social partners by throwing money at them.

While Martin stressed the importance of decoding Bertie, McCarthy has taken it a step further. A theme running through his report is less to do with decoding Bertie and more to do with ways of dismantling Bertie's Ireland.

1 the digital hub – 'dublin's silicon alley'
The Digital Hub, an initiative to establish technology enterprises in the Liberties area of Dublin, was one of Ahern's pet projects and he famously boasted its merits to President Bill Clinton on a visit to the US in 2000.

The reality was very different as Media Lab Europe, the anchor company in the 'Hub' was referred to in a number of reports as "dismal", "surprisingly weak", "mediocre" and even "flaky".

McCarthy has proposed that the Digital Hub Development Agency, set up by Ahern's government in 2003, merge with Enterprise Ireland/IDA to save €1.8m per year.

2 Sports campus ireland –
'bertie's beloved bowl'
The Sports Campus Ireland project was our planned national sports facility on a 500-acre site in Abbotstown. It was to feature a 50-metre pool, a velodrome for cyclists and an 80,000-seat stadium – the 'Bertie Bowl'.

In 2001 Ahern said: "I make no apology for it," as it "will repay itself many times over in terms of our national development". But the Progressive Democrats vetoed the project that was closest to Ahern's heart.

In January 2007, the government established the National Sports Campus Development Authority (NSCDA) to replace Sports Campus Ireland. The principal function of the body is to further develop the Abbotstown campus, where the National Aquatic Centre (NAC) is based.

McCarthy's report stated that a subsidy of €1m would be needed by the NAC in 2009 and into 2010 but current (€1m) and capital funding allocations (€2m) for Sports Campus Ireland "are no longer warranted given the current pause on capital developments at the campus".

3 the grangegorman development agency – 'dit in dublin central'
The Grangegorman Development Agency was established in 2006 to redevelop the former St Brendan's Hospital grounds as a new campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). In April 2002, in a pre-election announcement about the project in his Dublin Central constituency, Ahern said the first phase of the development had been given a "green light".

The project was never built and McCarthy's report stated: "Given the uncertainty in relation to this project, the group proposes to discontinue all current funding (€1.5m) for the agency. This could also avoid further capital expenditure on the planned €1.5bn capital development."

4'regulators and ombudsmen'
While by no means a negative legacy, there is no getting away from the fact that a plethora of new regulator and ombudsman roles were created by Ahern. The McCarthy report has reversed a number of these decisions.

Emily Logan became Ireland's first Ombudsman for Children in March 2004 but McCarthy has recommended her office should be merged with the Office of the Ombudsman. The Pensions Ombudsman, Paul Kenny, was appointed in 2003 but McCarthy has recommended that his office should merge with the financial services ombudsman, saving the state €1m a year.

5 the horse and greyhound fund
The Horse and Greyhound Fund will be allocated €68.1m this year with 80% allocated to Horse Racing Ireland and 20% allocated to Bord na gCon.

Set-up in 2001, the fund initially pledged to support racecourses throughout Ireland by funding prize money for individual races. While former minister for finance, Charlie McCreevy certainly had more to do with establishing this fund, it was set up on Ahern's watch and McCarthy has proposed it should be reduced by €16.4m a year.

6 medical card eligibility
In his 2001 budget speech, McCreevy announced the extension of the free medical card scheme to everyone over 70 years old irrespective of their income, following a last-minute decision by Ahern. It may have seemed like a good PR move at the time but it meant that health funding –which should have been targeted at those most in need – was diverted to pay for primary medical care for a group of people of a certain age, many of whom could well afford their own health insurance and medical care. McCarthy has now proposed a full review of the income guidelines for all medical-card eligibility.

7the state agencies and quangos quandary
Quangos and state agencies were one of Ahern's trademarks and hundreds of them mushroomed during his tenure. McCarthy has proposed slashing a number of quangos and state agencies and among the bodies to be discontinued or merged into other bodies are Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Irish Film Board, ComReg, the Irish Film Classification Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Dormant Accounts Fund Board and the Western Development Commission.

8 hse and department of health staff
When the health boards were abolished and the HSE was set up in January 2005, it was the widespread view in the corridors of Leinster House that it was Ahern personally who vetoed the much-needed rationalisation and job cuts in the Department of Health when the state coffers were awash with money.

McCarthy's report notes a 20% increase in public service workers between 2001 and 2009 and recommends staffing levels in the Department of Health and Children should be cut by 10% a year for the next three years and that staff reductions of a minimum of 6,000 are targeted for the HSE.

9public sector pay
The state's annual public service pay bill is €17.5bn and this is one of the most damning aspects of Ahern's legacy. The benchmarking body – established in July 2000 after pressure was put on Ahern's government by the trade unions – led to pay increases for public sector workers. McCarthy's report proposes "instituting a new benchmarking process to address the pay of public servants generally, with a remit to look at international pay rates and not confine itself to domestic comparators, and with a mandate to recommend reductions where the facts warrant this".

10the end of social partnership
During his tenures as minister for labour, and in his later minister for finance and taoiseach roles, Ahern was the architect of a succession of social partnership deals.

McCarthy's report raises questions about the future of social partnership. He even recommends abolishing the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF), the National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP) and the National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) – all monuments to social partnership – to save €4m.

Should the McCarthy report lead to the end of social partnership, that step will certainly be the most significant dismantling of Bertie's Ireland.