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You probably won't believe how much money Bertie Ahern spent on makeup back when he was Taoiseach

Journal.ie logo Journal.ie 21/09/2018 Kelly Earley
Bertie Ahern wearing a suit and tie © Niall Carson

AT THE MOMENT, RTÉ Archives have curated a profile of former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for their website.

There’s plenty of footage on the site relating to Bertie’s political career, which ended in 2012 after the Mahon report found that Ahern had provided the Tribunal with untrue evidence about the source of a significant amount of money that had been lodged into bank accounts connected to him. 

One video on the site, entitled ‘Is Bertie Worth It?‘ shows footage of televised Dáil proceedings from 2006, when Green Party TD John Gormley brought up Bertie Ahern’s outrageous makeup expenses. 

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Gormley said:

"Isn’t it extraordinary, Taoiseach, that you spend more money on makeup than any of the ladies in the cabinet? What sort of priorities do you have, when you’re, I suppose heading around like the queen of Drumcondra? Is it the case where we could call you the L’Oreal Taoiseach, you spend the money, because you’re worth it? "

So, we know you’re dying to find out just how much money was spent to warrant this reaction.

Bertie’s makeup expenses were roughly €480 per week. That works out as €24,960 per year. Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach for eleven years, so if he was spending this much for his entire tenure at Dáil Eireann, that would work out as a total of €274,560. 

The actual amount that Bertie Ahern spent on makeup falls short of this estimate, as figures obtained through Freedom of Information put it at around €250,000. 

Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair are posing for a picture © JOHN GILES

You are probably trying to comprehend how an individual could have a makeup bill of €480 per week.

Even if you wanted to spend more than a week’s worth of minimum wage on makeup each week, you’d probably struggle to do so. 

Was this man waking up and drinking a bottle of La Mer foundation before work each day? Did he write all of his notes with Sisley brow pencils instead of regular pens? Did he sleep on pillows filled with the hair from Bobbi Brown brushes? 

Bertie Ahern wearing a suit and tie © PA Archive

In actuality, Bertie Ahern’s makeup bill was so high because he hired two MUAs on a rotational basis for €187.50 per week for 2 or 3 days of the week. Imagine how long it would have taken to get him ready for Oireachtas TV. Ten, maybe, fifteen minutes? They must have seen him coming. 

In the years following John Gormley’s call-out, the figure decreased. In 2008, Bertie’s makeup only cost €9,332.42 because he handed his position over to Brian Cowen that year. 

If you’re wondering – no, Brian Cowen did not claim any expenses for makeup when he took over. Nor did Enda Kenny. 

Gallery: celebrity make-up faux pas (Photo Services)

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