Barrett full of bullion but NP far from political gold

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I was away when one of the heist stories of the summer broke – the alleged removal of gold bullion from a vault in Dublin 4. It turned out that the reserves belonged to the National Party, led by the odd, and very marginal, right-wing politician Justin Barrett.

There had been a rift in the anti-immigrant party between Barrett and his deputy leader James Reynolds, a former county chairman of the Irish Farmers Association in Longford.

Someone had taken possession of some of the gold, worth a reported €400,000, which was stored in a vault in Donnybrook.

Barrett contacted the Gardaí who in turn contacted the people who had taken possession of the gold bars and they were promptly handed back. No criminal investigation is understood to be taking place.

It was more than distinctly odd that a party – which never filed returns to the Standards in Public Offices Commission (SIPO) – should be keeping bullion, and in such staggering amounts.

The party is registered and there are strict rules about donations but apparently there is no recourse open to SIPO to take action against any party that fails to report.

Barrett described the bullion as ‘party reserves’ that had been ‘dearly gathered by the sacrifice of party members and supporters’.

He accused Reynolds and others, by their actions, as being “traitorous to the party, and insofar as the party is the last vanguard of the Irish nation in an hour of deep distress, a traitorous act against Ireland too”.

In the heel of the hunt, Barrett expelled them from the National Party. “A gangrenous limb cannot be accommodated only amputated”,” he railed.

Pictured: Justin Barrett…back in headlines for the wrong reasons.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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