Alex Massie

The Latest Great Irish Storyteller?

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Who can we add to the roster of Great Irish Writers? Why none other than our old chum Patrick Bartholomew Ahern. It seems that Bertie's autobiography (sadly not titled Dig Outs & Other Fuck-Ups) should be found on the fiction shelves. How so? Well...

The granting of tax-free status to former taoiseach Bertie Ahern for earnings from his autobiography under the artists’ exemption scheme has prompted calls for the scheme to be revised.

Labour Party arts spokeswoman Mary Upton said the tax break served a worthy purpose and she would not like to see it removed, but it should be reviewed. “In the current economic climate we need to have another look at who is eligible and the financial structures around their eligibility,” she said.

On the basis of reports that Mr Ahern was paid an advance of more than €100,000 to write his autobiography, he could save in the region of €41,000.

Ms Upton said the scheme was introduced “for struggling artists, to give them an opportunity to be creative. Artists who are young and not wealthy must continue to be taken account of and should not be sidelined”.

A Fine Gael spokesman said he believed people would find news that Mr Ahern could avail of the scheme particularly frustrating as it coincided with news of a steep decline in tax revenue.

Needless to say there remains one law for the

cute hoors

politicians and the well-connected and one for everyone else. No-one, of course, should be the least surprised by this.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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