TODAY CELIA LARKIN, Bertie Ahern’s former partner, was questioned by Henry Murphy SC about receiving an unsecured loan of IR£30,000 in 1993 from a Fianna Fail account in Irish Permanent Building Society, Drumcondra.
Ms Larkin told the Tribunal that the loan was repaid in full with assistance from Mr Ahern just two weeks before the then Taoiseach gave evidence at the Tribunal last February.
Ms. Larkin and Mr. Ahern agreed that a sum of €45,510, representing the euro value of the loan and interest at 1.2% per annum, be paid back into the ‘B/T’ account.
When asked why Ms Larkin delayed repayment of the loan for 14 years – until its discovery by the Inquiry – she replied that there had never been any question of repaying the loan; she had chosen that particular time “for my aunt’s piece of mind”.
The withdrawal was made from an account code-named “B/T” – which Bertie Ahern claims stands for “the Building Trust” – however no terms of repayment on the sum have been discovered.
This account, which was known to managers and tellers in IPBS as “the Bertie and Tim account”, and was referred to as such on one occasion at the bank by its signatory Tim Collins, was allegedly set up as a sinking fund for the renovation of St. Luke’s, Mr. Ahern’s constituency office in Drumcondra.
Senior Counsel for the Tribunal Henry Murphy asked the Chanel bedecked businesswoman if her “fear of publicity” hadn’t prompted her to repay the €45,510 debt.
Ms Larkin smiles demurely: “Mr. Murphy, I have long since lost my fear of publicity”.