COLMlam­bert Like ‘Fa­ther Ted’ in re­verse

Bray People - - News -

READ­ING the fur­ther rev­e­la­tions of FAS fool­ish­ness and frip­pery last week, a thought struck me: it’s a bit like Fa­ther Ted. But in re­verse.

The Rev­erend Crilly of Craggy Is­land reg­u­lary protested that ‘the money was just rest­ing in my ac­count’ when­ever there was a real or per­ceived ques­tion mark over his fi­nan­cial in­tegrity.

So, he ap­par­ently had the money, but wasn’t spending it. The flip side of that is what the FAS boys were up to for years: spend loads of money that’s not your own, and then just put it down as ex­penses.

That’s bad enough, but what re­ally brings the FAS de­ba­cle into Ted ter­ri­tory is the dis­cov­ery of the car raf­fle that never was.

You may re­mem­ber that Ted once tried to raf­fle off a Rover 200 to raise money to fix the roof of Craggy Is­land parochial house. Him­self and Dou­gal ended up ban­jax­ing the car though when they tried to fix a small dent by giv­ing it a few gen­tle taps with a ham­mer - only to keep go­ing un­til the whole thing was more bat­tered than last week’s sausages in a bad take­away. So Ted had to try fix the raf­fle for Dou­gal to win the car, but it didn’t go ac­cord­ing to plan, Fr Jack ended up crash­ing the car any­way, and the three priests and Mrs Doyle had to en­dure a long win­ter of rain pour­ing in through the leaky roof.

But at least Ted ac­tu­ally had a car to try give away – not like the FAS lads, who came up with the idea of raf­fling a car and who paid over money for it, but who never ac­tu­ally got any­thing at all for it.

The fi­asco hap­pened around the time of the Op­por­tu­ni­ties 2000 ex­hi­bi­tion in the RDS, and saw €9,200 be­ing paid to some un­named mo­tor dealer for what should have been the prize. But no­body thought of get­ting a li­cence to hold a raf­fle, so no raf­fle ever took place, and no­body ever took de­liv­ery of a car, even though the money was never re­claimed. So there was a nice lit­tle wind­fall there for some car sales­man who must surely have al­lowed him­self an­other lit­tle smile at the mem­ory of it when the rev­e­la­tion came out in the Comp­trol­ler and Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s re­port last week.

Of course, there was much big­ger wastage at FAS too, such as €600,000 on tele­vi­sion ad­verts that were never aired and as much again on var­i­ous goods and ser­vices which were never de­liv­ered, but they’re right out of Ted’s league. Still, it shows the in­or­di­nate amount of waste that took place dur­ing the boom times, never mind the ex­penses claimed by of­fi­cials such as Greg Craig: over €400,000 in eight years, in­clud­ing nearly €50,000 in restau­rants and bars in Dublin, New York, Brus­sels, Florida, Moscow and War­saw; over €157,000 on flights, mainly first class, around the globe; and ho­tel bills of over €176,000.

Those ex­penses are right up there in Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue ter­ri­tory.

And men­tion of O’Donoghue brings us neatly back again to Fa­ther Ted.

Be­cause both Ted and O’Donoghue are grey-haired chancers from some­where out west. A right pair of cow­boys.

‘The money was just rest­ing in my ac­count...’

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