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Bertie Ahern wins big at the track

Summer 2008, Republic of Ireland

"[Bertie Ahern] said a further lodgement of £8,000 sterling to his daughters' accounts in 1996 was the result of particularly successful horse-racing bets in that year."

    — The Irish Times, Thursday, 5 June 2008, on the recently-resigned taoiseach (prime minister.)

There are, of course, few people whose net bank at the horses is in the black. That's why the bookies are so prevalent — they're making money because the bets they offer are engineered so that people lose on average.

The gambling politician

Part of being an average Joe Soap ...

"Won it on the horses" is kind of a standard, a traditional Irish first-option explanation of unexplained moneys. It's not meant to be accepted without skepticism.

Of course, it's possible that Ahern won that money on the horses — but if so, probably in corrupt fashion. As an inveterate Irish politician, he'd be privy to some of the best information at the track.

But even that's a stretch, and everybody knows it:

"Mr Ahern's evidence, on what was his first appearance before the [Mahon] tribunal since resigning from office, at times prompted laughter from the public gallery, which was close to full."

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