In a dramatic development in the Mahon Tribunal today, the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern confessed that he had been abducted by Aliens. In the face of tough questioning from Tribunal Lawyer Des O'Neill, Mr. Ahern went motionless and his gaze floated to the middle distance. Mr O'Neill pressed Ahern asking "why did you as Finance Minister take bags of cash from businessmen in the 90s?". Mr Ahern became confused and stammered "the aliens". An incredulous O'Neill interjected "I'm sorry?". "The Aliens" Mr Ahern repeated, still dazed. "They made me do it" he continued. A stunned public gallery heard Mr Ahern tell the full story of his Alien abduction.
It was a Saturday, in early November 1993. Mr Ahern had won 200 quid at the races after backing a horse called CJ's Boy. That evening he popped over to Fagan's to buy a few rounds for the locals with his winnings. The craic was good so Bertie gulped a few more pints of bass than he should have. He left just before closing and staggered off up the Drumcondra Road.
He wanted to hail a cab but desperately needed to relieve himself. He stepped into a side alley and unzipped. As he finished he noticed a strange eddy whirled about him blowing the weeds in a magical dance. He felt funny. Not nauseous or drowsy, just a funny sensation in his chest and a tingling in his limbs. He thought it was a bad pint, but just then, after zipping, he turned towards the road and saw the Orb. A bright, shiny orb floated before him. He was stunned but somehow, not afraid. It was twirling. He was enveloped in silence. Then a surge of ecstasy rushed through his body as the orb neared and brightened, closer and closer, until it touched his mesmerized forehead.
Mr Ahern recalled how he awoke in a bright room. He thought he was in Beaumount hospital. He must have had an accident. Then he saw the Orb. He felt paralyzed, and faintly afraid. He tried to look around when a humanoid approached. Ahern was seized by a terror that he hadn't felt since the heaves against his former Boss in the 80s.
The humanoid quickly injected his captive with a yellow serum which banished his fear. Mr Ahern recalls that he now felt comfortable. He said he was confused and may have asked the humanoid if this was a Fine Gael set up. He couldn't recall an answer.
The alien then explained that his planet, Yehguah, was being destroyed by LICE - Ludicrously Implausible Currency Exchanges - and he had come to earth to find a cure. All over his planet political leaders were neglecting their duties in order to indulge their addiction to wads of cash. Most of them had become entirely consumed by their obsession with currency that they were prepared to rubber stamp any proposal, no matter how preposterous, if it came with an envelope of cash. Then they would rush off from one bank to another converting the sum into ever decreasing bundles of foreign exchange. They would change the money hundreds of times, sometimes frittering away the entire sum in commission.
Not even the greatest minds on their planet could cure this contagious and utterly destructive pathology. But they had identified a neuro-virus, FF77, which seemed to be the cause.
Mr Ahern's kidnapper told him that life for his people was now miserable because infrastructural projects were built at random, instead of linking up. Great Bridges spanned over perfectly flat, dry plains. Railway tracks criss-crossed the landmasses, but there were no trains. Magnificent highways were built that lead nowhere. Giant housing projects sprouted miles from shops or factories. Vast new hospitals lay overstaffed but under-equipped, while old ones were overcrowded and understaffed. Nothing it seemed worked right anymore.
Desperate for a solution they came to earth. And their high powered Gene Scanner found that certain members of Fianna Fáil might be immune to FF77. If only they could provde it and identify the gene. They would test Mr Ahern's resistance to LICE by injecting him with minute amounts of FF77. If he didn't develop the full blown pathology, he might be their saviour.
They would pre-progam a number of businessmen to inundate him with brown envelopes for apparently no reason. And friends would show up with cash for houses which hadn't been bought. The idea was to see if Mr Ahern would question the gifts. His kidnappers fervently hoped that he would, so that his genes might be a clue to save their civilisation.
And so he was returned to earth and the experiment began. He woke up at daybreak, in the alley near Fagan's. He brushed himself down, but felt exhausted (they told him later he had travelled a thousand light years) so he skipped over to St Luke's to nap.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Two years later he was abducted again in similar circumstances. He had tried so hard to suppress his previous experience, by tucking it back with other hidden traumatic memories, that he had almost forgotten. But here again was the orb, the lights, and his alien abductors.
They told Bertie in downbeat tones that the experiment had failed. He wasn't resistant. He had accepted the cash. Left, right and centre. No offers were refused, no matter how the circumstances seemed to breach normal ethical codes. Worse was to come. They told him that he had developed an advanced strain of the disease, which they called Accute Monetary Amnesia. Not only had he ran around the banks changing currencies, but of this he had retained only the vaguest memory.
The aliens would now have to continue their search by visiting another planet. As for Bertie, he would be released unharmed in Drumcondra. But there remained a risk that he would spread the horrid contagion to others and that earth too would succumb to the misery which ravaged Yehguah.
A silence fell on the hearing room as Mr Ahern concluded his story. He bowed his head. A handful of supporters in the public gallery began to applaud.