Jump to content

Bertie Ahern

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bertie Ahern
Ahern in 2006
11th Taoiseach
In office
26 June 1997 – 7 May 2008
Preceded byJohn Bruton
Succeeded byBrian Cowen
Leader of the Opposition
In office
15 December 1994 – 26 June 1997
PresidentMary Robinson
TaoiseachJohn Bruton
Preceded byJohn Bruton
Succeeded byJohn Bruton
Leader of Fianna Fáil
In office
19 December 1994 – 7 May 2008
Preceded byAlbert Reynolds
Succeeded byBrian Cowen
In office
19 November 1994 – 15 December 1994
TaoiseachAlbert Reynolds
Preceded byDick Spring
Succeeded byDick Spring
Deputy leader of Fianna Fáil
In office
10 February 1992 – 19 November 1994
LeaderAlbert Reynolds
Preceded byJohn Wilson
Succeeded byBrian Cowen
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
In office
19 November 1994 – 15 December 1994
TaoiseachAlbert Reynolds
Preceded byMichael D. Higgins
Succeeded byMichael D. Higgins
Minister for Industry and Commerce
In office
4 January 1993 – 12 January 1993
TaoiseachAlbert Reynolds
Preceded byPádraig Flynn
Succeeded byRuairi Quinn
Minister for Finance
In office
14 November 1991 – 15 December 1994
  • Albert Reynolds
  • Charles Haughey
Preceded byAlbert Reynolds
Succeeded byRuairi Quinn
Minister for Labour
In office
10 March 1987 – 14 November 1991
TaoiseachCharles Haughey
Preceded byGemma Hussey
Succeeded byMichael O'Kennedy
Minister of State
1982Government Chief Whip
Lord Mayor of Dublin
In office
24 June 1986 – 26 June 1987
Preceded byJim Tunney
Succeeded byCarmencita Hederman
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1981 – February 2011
ConstituencyDublin Central
In office
June 1977 – June 1981
ConstituencyDublin Finglas
Personal details
Bartholomew Patrick Ahern

(1951-09-12) 12 September 1951 (age 72)
Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil (1965–2012; since 2023)
(m. 1975; sep. 1992)
Alma materCollege of Commerce, Rathmines
Ahern resigned membership of Fianna Fáil in 2012 following the publication of the final report of the Mahon Tribunal, before rejoining the party in 2023

Bartholomew Patrick "Bertie" Ahern (born 12 September 1951) is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician who served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1994 to 2008, Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997, Tánaiste and Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from November 1994 to December 1994, Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1992 to 1994, Minister for Industry and Commerce in January 1993, Minister for Finance from 1991 to 1994, Minister for Labour from 1987 to 1991, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Defence from March 1982 to December 1982 and Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1986 to 1987. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1977 to 2011.

In 1994, Ahern was elected the sixth Leader of Fianna Fáil. Under Ahern's leadership, Fianna Fáil led three coalition governments. Ahern is the second-longest serving Taoiseach, after Éamon de Valera. Ahern resigned as Taoiseach on 6 May 2008, in the wake of revelations made in Mahon Tribunal, and was succeeded by Minister for Finance Brian Cowen.[1] In 2012, the Mahon Tribunal found that Ahern, while not judged corrupt, had received money from developers and the Tribunal disbelieved his explanations of those payments. Fianna Fáil proposed to expel politicians censured by the tribunal for "conduct unbecoming", but Ahern resigned his membership prior to the expulsion motion being moved.[2]

In November 2016, Fianna Fáil announced that it had given Ahern the option of rejoining the party.[3] He rejoined in February 2023.[4]

Early life[edit]

Ahern was born in Drumcondra, Dublin, the youngest of five children of Con and Julia (née Hourihane) Ahern, both natives of County Cork, who married in October 1937. They settled at Church Avenue, Drumcondra, where they resided for the rest of their lives.[5] The other four children are Maurice, Kathleen, Noel and Eileen.[5] In Dublin, Ahern's father worked as a farm manager at All Hallows College, Drumcondra. Ahern's brother Noel is also involved in politics and represented Dublin North-West in Dáil Éireann.

Ahern's father Con was born into a farming family near Ballyfeard, which is located near Kinsale, County Cork, in 1904.[6] His mother also came from a farming background and was from near Castledonovan, west County Cork. Ahern's father, Con, initially left County Cork and went to Dublin in the early 1930s to train for the priesthood, but did not complete his studies with the Vincentian order.[5][6] He had fought in the Irish Civil War. He was a supporter of Éamon de Valera and the Anti-Treaty IRA.[6] He was a member of the 3rd Cork Brigade of the IRA.[5] He remained a militant Irish Republican for decades after the War of Independence. Con Ahern died in 1990. Ahern's mother, Julia, died in 1998, aged 87 years.[7][8]

Ahern was educated at St. Patrick's National School, Drumcondra and at St. Aidan's Christian Brothers, Whitehall.[9] He received his third-level education at the College of Commerce, Rathmines, part of the Dublin Institute of Technology. Ahern has claimed or it has been claimed by others in circulated biographies that he was educated at University College Dublin and the London School of Economics, but neither university has any records that show Ahern was ever one of their students.[10] He subsequently worked in the Accounts Department of the Mater Hospital, Dublin.[11][12]

Ahern is an enthusiastic and vocal fan of sport. He is a supporter of Dublin GAA and attends Dublin matches in Croke Park.[13] He also supports Manchester United F.C. and attends matches at Old Trafford and rugby matches at Lansdowne Road. He appeared as a pundit on RTÉ Two's The Premiership programme in 2001.[14]

Early political career[edit]

Ahern first became involved in a Fianna Fáil by-election campaign in 1965, climbing lamp posts to hang election posters in Drumcondra.[15] During the campaign, Ahern met his political mentor and future Taoiseach, Charles Haughey. Ahern became a member of Fianna Fáil at the age of 17, and in the 1969 general election he assisted with the election campaign in his constituency.

Ahern first ran for office during the landslide 1977 general election when Fianna Fáil formed the last single-party majority government with a 20-seat Dáil majority, the largest ever. Ahern received 4,000 first preference votes in the newly created Dublin Finglas constituency and was elected with transfers from other candidates.[16] He was elected to Dublin Corporation at the 1979 local elections for the Cabra East–Finglas West local electoral area (LEA). He later switched to the North Inner City LEA before standing down before the 1991 local elections.[citation needed] In subsequent elections Ahern became one of the highest vote-getters in the country. In his Dublin Central constituency, Ahern was described as:

The undisputed kingpin here. Running mates came and went, some successful and some not, all left in little doubt that their allotted role was that of subordinate hoping to pick up the crumbs from Bertie's surplus, and that they should not develop any notions of equality. Vote management elsewhere usually means trying to divide a party's votes equally among its candidates, but in Dublin Central, it meant trying to direct every available first preference to Bertie and taking it from there.[17]

During his first years as a Teachta Dála (TD), Ahern was an anonymous backbencher, but did display ambition. In 1979, when Charles Haughey and George Colley, both constituency colleagues, fought a divisive battle for the position of party leader and Taoiseach, Ahern is believed to have backed Haughey. Ahern had served on a health committee with Haughey in the mid-1970s. Following Haughey's victory, Ahern was appointed Assistant-Government Chief Whip.

In 1980, due to the illness of the actual Chief Whip, Seán Moore, he was effectively running the office. Ahern increased his personal vote in all three general elections of 1981 and 1982, even out-polling[18] his running mate, George Colley, previously a candidate for Taoiseach. In the short-lived Fianna Fáil government of 1982, Ahern served as Government Chief Whip. Fianna Fáil were then consigned to the opposition benches for five years. During this period Ahern became Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Labour. In 1986, he became Lord Mayor of Dublin.[19] During his tenure, he organised the Dublin Millennium festival.

Cabinet career[edit]

Minister for Labour[edit]

In 1987, Fianna Fáil returned to power as a minority government.[20] Ahern became Minister for Labour, which was not considered an important portfolio. In the following years, the department was important in stimulating Ireland's ailing economy.[21] On behalf of the government Bertie Ahern negotiated the first national wage agreement between unions and employers, The Programme for National Recovery. This and the subsequent national wage agreement came to be known as the 'Irish model' and have been adopted by a number of European countries[22]

In 1989, Haughey called an early general election. Fianna Fáil lost seats and was forced into a coalition government with the Progressive Democrats.[23] Ahern retained his position as Minister for Labour in the government of the 26th Dáil. In 1990, Ahern negotiated the Programme for Economic and Social Progress.

In 1990, Ahern was campaign manager for the presidential bid of his cabinet colleague, Brian Lenihan.[24] It proved to be Ahern's least successful campaign as the apparently unbeatable Lenihan lost to Labour Party candidate Mary Robinson. Ahern was damaged in the short term by being seen as the first Fianna Fáil presidential election campaign manager to lose a presidential election.

In 1991, the Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats programme for government was reviewed. Ahern was a key player in these talks yet again. His involvement prompted Haughey to remark of Ahern:

He's the most skilful, the most devious, the most cunning of them all.[25][26]

Minister for Finance[edit]

In November 1991, Reynolds, then Minister for Finance, launched a leadership challenge to Haughey. Ahern publicly backed Haughey.[27] The challenge failed and Reynolds and his supporters were dismissed from the cabinet. In the reshuffle that followed, Ahern became Minister for Finance. According to statements given by Ahern while serving as Minister for Finance, he did not hold a personal bank account.

Reynolds succeeds[edit]

In early 1992, Charles Haughey resigned as Taoiseach. Ahern was encouraged by Haughey and others to bid for the position. He was apprehensive, and remained out of the contest, allowing Reynolds to become party leader and Taoiseach. It is believed that Reynolds and Ahern struck a deal in which Ahern would withdraw and thus remain in the cabinet, to succeed subsequently. Ahern and Michael Woods were the only two senior members to remain in the new Reynolds cabinet, with Ahern retaining his Finance portfolio.

Following the 1992 general election, Fianna Fáil formed a coalition government with the Labour Party. This lasted until 1994, when the Labour Party withdrew from government, due to unhappiness with Reynolds's proposed candidate for President of the High Court. Ahern briefly succeeded Labour leader Dick Spring as Tánaiste. However, the government fell after a motion of no confidence, proposed by Fine Gael and Leader of the Opposition John Bruton, seconded by Fianna Fáil's former coalition partners the Labour Party. Reynolds resigned as Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader.

During 1993, while he was Finance Minister, Ahern accepted payments of IR £39,000 from various businessmen: see below for details. These payments did not become public knowledge until 2006.

In 1993, Ahern said in an interview, that tax cheaters would be jailed.[28]

He is also under scrutiny from the Mahon Tribunal for this cash payment and subsequent revelations in May 2007, of cash received from businessman Micheál Wall.

Leader of Fianna Fáil[edit]

Ahern succeeded Reynolds as the leader; the first unopposed candidate since Seán Lemass in 1959.[29] Ahern was elected as the sixth leader of Fianna Fáil on 19 December 1994.

Negotiations for a resumption of government with the Labour Party began immediately. It was expected that the coalition would be renewed, clearing the way for Ahern to become Taoiseach. However, due to revelations that Ahern knew more about an aspect of the scandal that toppled Reynolds than previously known, Labour withdrew from the coalition, opting instead to go into coalition with Fine Gael. Ahern found himself as Leader of the Opposition.

In the 1997 general election Fianna Fáil's campaign centred on Ahern's personal popularity. At the election, while Fianna Fáil picked up seats, its preferred coalition partner, the Progressive Democrats, lost more than half their seats. However, Labour suffered even heavier losses, leaving Fine Gael short of the support it needed to stay in office. Ahern quickly formed a coalition government with the Progressive Democrats, with the support of four Independent TDs. On 26 June 1997, aged 45, Ahern became the youngest Taoiseach since W. T. Cosgrave.

Tenure as Taoiseach[edit]

First term (1997–2002)[edit]

Early issues[edit]

Ahern shaking hands with then President of the European Commission Jacques Santer in 1997
Ahern with President Bill Clinton in 2000

Ahern's first government saw some teething problems during its first six months. Firstly, Ahern tried to nominate David Andrews as Minister for Defence and as a Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs. This was unconstitutional as one Minister cannot be subordinate to another.

Secondly, in July, Charles Haughey gave evidence to the McCracken Tribunal on corruption confirming that he had received IR£1.3 million (€1.7 million) in gifts from businessman Ben Dunne, which he had previously denied. This damaged Haughey's reputation more than the Government's.

Thirdly, earlier allegations resurfaced about Ahern's Foreign Minister, Ray Burke. Burke eventually admitted to receiving IR£30,000 (€38,000) in a corrupt payment and chose to resign. Arising from those two matters, the government established the Moriarty Tribunal and the Flood Tribunal.[30] One of the high points of the first six months was the renewal of the Provisional IRA ceasefire, which paved the way for resumed negotiations in Northern Ireland.

Peace process[edit]

A significant achievement of Ahern's first term was his part in the negotiation of the Belfast Agreement, commonly called the Good Friday Agreement, in which the British and Irish Governments and most Northern Irish political parties established an "exclusively peaceful and democratic" framework for power-sharing in Northern Ireland. The agreement was signed on 10 April 1998. It was seen as something special, because not only was it endorsed by the political parties, it was endorsed also by the British and Irish governments and the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The agreement, the ceasefires and the political structures it created have encouraged peace. The negotiations also led to his friendship with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On 26 November 1998, Blair became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Oireachtas. On 24 September 2003, Ahern and Blair were jointly awarded the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights for their work on the Good Friday Agreement to promote peace between Britain and Northern Ireland.[31] On 22 May 2008, Ahern and Blair were both awarded honorary doctorates by Queen's University Belfast in recognition of their roles in the peace process. University Chancellor George Mitchell praised Mr Ahern as "a man of peace and a builder of bridges". [32]

Speaking at the 1916 Easter Rising commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin, in 1998, Ahern said

The British Government are effectively out of the equation and neither the British parliament nor people have any legal right under this agreement to impede the achievement of Irish unity if it had the consent of the people North and South... Our nation is and always will be a 32-county nation. Antrim and Down are, and will remain, as much a part of Ireland as any southern county.[33]


Ahern's first term in office had been a period of high economic growth in Ireland, known as the Celtic Tiger. This was followed by a property boom which led to the economic crisis of 2008–2010 and culminated in the state requiring an IMF and EU bailout in 2010. In the first term increased prosperity and a better standard of living were the main results of the Celtic Tiger economy. There were significant deficits in the provision of infrastructure[34] in the health and transport sectors. The good economic conditions allowed Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, to deliver several generous budgets. The 1998 and 1999 Finance Acts included special tax incentives targeted at the area covered by the pilot Rural Renewal Scheme for the Upper Shannon Area.[35] This scheme was later subject to criticism by the Heritage Council for being introduced without a 'Baseline Audit' to inform the level and scale of development to be supported through the scheme, not identifying priority areas suitable for development, not providing any strategic protection for designated areas including the corridor of the River Shannon, nor promoting the use of sustainable design and building materials in any new build or refurbishment project supported by the scheme.[36][37] This growth changed in 2008, with a difficult budget for 2008, brought forward by 2 months, as Ireland entered recession,[38] with unemployment expected to rise 5.6% in 2008 and the construction industry in decline. Economic growth in 2008, had also slowed to its lowest levels in over a decade.[38] In 2009, Ahern said his decision in 2001, to create the Financial Regulator was one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Irish banking sector and "if I had a chance again I wouldn't do it".[39]

2002 general election[edit]

The 28th Dáil served its full term, becoming the second-longest Dáil to complete a full term. The coalition of Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats was re-elected with an increased majority in the 2002 general election on 17 May of that year. Fianna Fáil had hoped for a majority, but ultimately came up three seats short of the 84 required. Fine Gael was decimated, losing much of its front bench. The coalition Government returned to power, comprising Fianna Fáil and the eight Progressive Democrats TDs. It was the first time a Government had been re-elected since Jack Lynch's in 1969.

Second term (2002–2007)[edit]

US President George W. Bush, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Ahern at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland on 8 April 2003.

Controversy arose when it was announced shortly afterwards that financial cutbacks were needed due to the drop in the international and Irish economies. This contradicted Fianna Fáil's promise during the election campaign when Finance Minister McCreevy was quoted several times saying that "no cutbacks, secret or otherwise, were planned". The government was accused of lying to the public, particularly concerning the war in Iraq (see below). The Government's rating fell badly in opinion polls and Ahern's popularity dropped to its minimum.

Another issue in the government's agenda for 2002, was the upcoming 2002 Referendum nicknamed "Nice 2", this was a second attempt to pass the Treaty of Nice.

During 2003, the government was subject to more controversy when it became public that US military aircraft, carrying large numbers of troops, were refuelling at Shannon Airport, despite widespread opposition to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Ireland's policy since the foundation of the State has been to be a neutral party in any conflict. The Government had maintained that troops had not used Shannon but when this was disproved, it then claimed that such permission had been available for 50 years.

The drop in opinion poll ratings for Ahern and his government after the 2002 election, was followed in 2004, by Fianna Fáil's worst local election results in 80 years. Despite speculation, no leadership challenge occurred and Ahern recovered in the polls. His reputation for inaction in changing cabinet Ministers ended with his long-heralded 2004 Cabinet reshuffle in which he failed to sack Séamus Brennan from the cabinet. The reshuffle was not as extensive as some had hoped as only three new members entered government.

The unpopular phase seemed short-lived as the government rearranged its priorities and the economy grew. A notable law enacted by this government was the ban on smoking in workplaces and enclosed areas in March 2004. Improvements had been made in the transport infrastructure with the launch of the Luas light rail system in Dublin, many new motorways being built and the break-up of Aer Rianta, the state-owned Airport Management company.

President George W. Bush accepts a bowl of shamrock from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern during a ceremony celebrating St. Patrick's Day in 2005.

In November 2004, Ahern celebrated ten years as leader of Fianna Fáil. In April 2006, he became the second longest serving Taoiseach, after Éamon de Valera.

One of Ahern's achievements in 2004, was his Presidency of the European Council,[40] during which EU leaders agreed a European Constitution, there was recovery in EU-US relations, the EU formally admitted 10 new members, and selected José Manuel Barroso as President of the European Commission. Briefly, it appeared[citation needed] as if Ahern himself might become President of the European Commission, however, he declined in favour of domestic politics. The treaty was subsequently defeated in referendums in the Netherlands and France.

Ahern's government spent €52 million on the Nedap Electronic Voting system. This was challenged as being insecure and could have been tampered with to change results.[41]

His coalition partners in government, the Progressive Democrats, said that he had questions to answer as details of an £8,000 (€11,800) payment for speaking engagements, in Manchester in 1994, emerged. The continued appearance of details of his appearances in Manchester and the names of those who were present at functions threatened to destabilise his coalition government, especially so when it transpired that one of the businessmen Micheál Wall subsequently sold a house to Ahern. The strains in the coalition eased after Ahern apologised for the second time in the Dáil and agreed to tighten up on ethics legislation.[42]

The Moriarty Tribunal[43] reporting in December 2006, criticised Ahern for having signed blank cheques for the then party leader Charles Haughey, who misappropriated taxpayers' funds for personal use. The disbursement of funds to Fianna Fáil and their investigation by the tribunal have raised questions about the involvement of Ahern in the administration of these funds.

In May 2007, he became the first Irish leader to address a joint session of the UK Parliament.[44]

2007 general election[edit]

Ahern hoped to win a third general election in 2007. While opinion polls, in April 2007, suggested that this was improbable.[45][46]

Polls in April 2007, showed his coalition of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats at 35% and 3% respectively against[47] the Fine Gael–Labour Party alternative government figure of 38%. A further poll published 27 April 2007,[48] shows Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats at 34% and 3% respectively compared to Fine Gael and Labour at 31% and 10%. A promise by the Labour Party, at their February 2007 party conference of a cut in the basic rate of income tax, paid by 80% of workers, from 20% to 18% created some excitement in political and media circles. Income tax cuts by the Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats government had concentrated on the top rate of tax and Labour were able to portray their proposal as progressive to the discomfiture of Fianna Fáil.

Ahern received staunch support during the campaign from Eoghan Harris, writing in the Sunday Independent. Harris declared that the anti-Ahern campaign was the most sinister manipulation of the Irish media that he had seen in his lifetime and that Sinn Féin would be the main beneficiaries of a fall in support for Ahern and Fianna Fáil.[49] Harris was nominated to Seanad Éireann as a Senator on 3 August 2007 by Ahern.

Ahern dissolved the Dáil in April 2007 and called an election for 24 May 2007. Unusually, Ahern dissolved the Dáil on a Sunday morning, claiming that President McAleese's foreign trip that week made it necessary despite the trip having been long-planned. There was speculation that the timing was instead motivated by the commencement of the Mahon Tribunal's Quarryvale module scheduled for that week, particularly Tom Gilmartin's evidence – the hearing thus had to be postponed until after the election was over. Ahern's party received 78 seats a loss of three seats from the 2002 election result. This was regarded as a Fianna Fáil 'victory', as questions about Ahern's finances overshadowed the early part of the election campaign, which threatened to cause huge losses for Ahern's party. His partners in the government, the Progressive Democrats suffered a reduction in representation from 8 to 2 seats including the loss of their leader.

Third term (2007–2008)[edit]

Ahern at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 2004

Following the general election of 2007 Ahern was elected to a third term as Taoiseach, leading a rainbow coalition of Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and the Progressive Democrats, and also supported by several Independent TDs. This was the first Rainbow coalition comprising Fianna Fáil, with all their previous coalitions comprising just one partner.

Requiring 83 seats to return the government, Ahern's options were to attempt to govern with the Progressive Democrats plus two "gene-pool"[50] Independents (Jackie Healy-Rae and Beverley Flynn; both former Fianna Fáil members) and one or more of the other three Independents, Michael Lowry, Finian McGrath or Tony Gregory (both left-wing Independents). The other options were an alliance with the Green Party or the Labour Party. In the event, Fianna Fáil negotiated a programme for government with the Green Party and formed a new rainbow coalition with the Green Party and the Progressive Democrats, supported by Healy-Rae, Flynn, Lowry and McGrath.

Ahern's reputation was damaged by the accusation of cash gifts received that have transmuted to loans from businessmen. His reputation as the Teflon Taoiseach (no allegation of unethical behaviour had stuck to him until September 2006) was damaged. He was criticised in the foreign press as well as in the Irish media.[51][52]

To the surprise of many observers, polls taken during and after the payments' crisis indicated a sharp rise in support for the Ahern government and a corresponding fall in support for the Opposition parties. While 55–64% of the public believed that he was wrong to accept the payments, support for his party rose to 39–42%, while support for the main Opposition parties Fine Gael and the Labour Party fell to 20–26% and 10–11%. Two-thirds believed he should not have resigned. The polls provoked complaints from the media.[53][54] The Irish Times commented they were a "poor reflection of ourselves".

Ahern stated in an interview in the Village on 22 May 2007, that he intended to retire from politics when he turned 60 years of age. He stated this would mean standing down as Taoiseach before the end of the Dáil term, which would have ended in 2012 at the latest.[55]

On 4 July 2007, Ahern stated at a conference in County Donegal, that he did not understand why people sitting on the sidelines, "cribbing and moaning" about the economy, did not commit suicide.[56][57] These comments came at a time when Ireland's economy was beginning to falter,[58] and with property prices falling by up to 10% as part of the Irish property bubble. Ahern later accepted responsibility for the overheating of the property sector but took no responsibility for the failings of the Central Bank of Ireland.[59]

In an opinion poll taken in September 2007, subsequent to Ahern's initial two-day appearance at the Mahon Tribunal, fewer than one-third of voters believed Ahern's accounts of his finances.[60]

Opposition parties had previously been muted in their reaction but in September 2007, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, called for Ahern to resign in light of his appearance at the Mahon Tribunal and on 23 September 2007, Leader of the Opposition Enda Kenny was heavily critical of the "rambling, incoherent" answers offered by Ahern to the Mahon tribunal in September 2007. Kenny said there was now a situation whereby a witness before a tribunal, testifying under oath, "is continually changing his story". It "create[s] a credibility problem and that's the issue the Taoiseach has got to deal with".[61]

On resumption of the Dáil on 26 September a motion of no confidence in Ahern's government was moved by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and seconded by the Labour Party, based on Ahern's statements to the Mahon Tribunal. The Green Party, PDs and Independent TDs who supported the government voted for Ahern in the motion of no confidence. In a stormy[62] three-hour Dáil debate, Ahern was accused of telling "lies" and was called upon to resign.

The no-confidence motion was defeated by 81 votes to 76, with all six Green Party TDs, two PDs and four Independents, Finian McGrath, Beverley Flynn, Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae voting with the Government. In an opinion poll published[63] in November 2007, some three-quarters of voters indicated that they did not believe that Ahern had given a full disclosure about his personal finances to the Mahon Tribunal. The opinion poll also showed more than half of the electorate believing that the whole episode was by then a serious political issue for Ahern.

A later opinion poll taken on 22 January 2008, on the issue of Mr Ahern's personal finances and tax liabilities, found that "78% of people do not believe he has given the full picture (up 6%) while just 14% believe he has given the full picture (down 3%)."[64]

The Minister for the Environment and leader of the Green Party, John Gormley said on 22 February 2008, that revelations concerning the Taoiseach at the Mahon Tribunal were distracting from the work of government.[65]

Opposition parties on 22 February 2008, branded the Taoiseach's financial affairs as a "national embarrassment", which should prompt his immediate resignation.[66]

Grainne Carruth's acceptance as a matter of civil probability that she had lodged sterling sums to Ahern's account at the Drumcondra branch of the Irish Permanent Building Society in the 1990s had reportedly sent shock waves through the ranks of Fianna Fáil.[67] On 27 March 2008, the unease at Ahern's declarations at the Mahon Tribunal, as contradicted by his former secretary at the tribunal, were highlighted when Progressive Democrat coalition partner leader Mary Harney, traditionally a stern supporter of her former colleague, called on Ahern to make a statement.

The disquiet within the coalition was further emphasised when Green Party leader John Gormley, said that Ahern should clarify the contradiction between his evidence and that of his former secretary Grainne Carruth.[68][69]

An opinion poll published[70] on 25 November 2007, showed that support for Fianna Fáil had dropped by seven per cent, "following the announcement of large pay increases for the government and senior public servants against a backdrop of continuing economic uncertainty and high-profile failures in the health service."

On 2 April 2008, Ahern announced his intention to resign as Taoiseach and as leader of Fianna Fáil on 6 May 2008.

On 30 April 2008, in Washington D.C., Ahern became the sixth Irish leader to address the United States Congress.[71][72] He is also the sixth person who has addressed both the UK Parliament and the United States Congress.[73]

On 6 May 2008, he performed his last official duty as Taoiseach in opening the Battle of the Boyne visitors centre with then First Minister of Northern Ireland Ian Paisley.


In a November 2009, interview with VIP magazine, Ahern spoke of how critics who blame the government for the economic crisis should "dig the garden or grow bluebells or do something useful".[74] He continued, saying that the Irish property bubble was not the fault of his government and that "cynics and knockers, people who always see the glass as half empty. I can't understand people who are always bitching, saying 'It's the Government's fault, it's the doctor's fault, it's the cat's fault.' It's everybody's fault except their own."[74]

He said in 2009, that since he resigned as Taoiseach the previous year, "life is not as controlled as it was. I'm busy doing different things, some quite important, but it's just not the same. If I want to go to a match, I go to a match; if I want to see some friends tomorrow night, I can do that, so it's a big change."[74]

Commenting on the economic difficulties facing his successor, he said: "Brian has had it rough because of the huge international slowdown. The big trick for him is how we can get out of it quickly."[74]

In January 2010, Ahern said he would have no difficulties giving evidence to the investigation into banking, nor having his testimony heard in public. Saying he would appear if asked, Ahern defended his record while in government, attributing the crisis in banking to international factors and the banks' over-exposure to borrowing on international markets. "By and large we all know what happened. The banks borrowed money on the open market in the short term. And as soon as things went, they had to pay that money up but they hadn't got it to pay," he said. "That's what happened. I don't think it will take too long [for an inquiry] to write up what the position is."[75] He continued, saying, "The greater issue was the protection and the regulation of the bank rather than consumers' interests." Mr Ahern also said that people were "jumping over developers" but also "needed to remember" they employed 200,000 people. He said that one of the first things that Brian Cowen had done when he became Minister for Finance was to abolish many of the property tax incentives. He also presided over many of the incentives that benefited property developers. "When they were brought in, the place was in a disastrous way. Look at the quays in Dublin. There were reports around for 40 years that said the quays needed something done about them and nothing happened until we brought in the urban renewal status and gave the tax incentives."[75]

Explanation for not reacting to property bubble[edit]

In May 2010, Ahern said of the property-based tax incentives which aggravated the Irish economic collapse that "We probably should have closed those down a good bit earlier but there were always fierce pressures, there was endless pressures to keep them. There was endless pressures to extend them." He stated that the pressure to retain such incentives had come from developers, owners of sites, areas that did not have the developments, community councils, politicians and civic society.[76]

Ahern said that his decision in 2001, to create a new financial regulator was one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Irish banking sector, saying that "if I had a chance again I wouldn't do it."[77] "The banks were irresponsible," he admitted. "But the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator seemed happy. They were never into us saying – ever – 'Listen, we must put legislation and control on the banks.' That never happened."[78]


On 25 October 2007, Ahern[79] was criticised after the government accepted a recommendation from the Review Body on Higher Remuneration that senior civil servants and ministers receive pay increases.[80][81] The pay-rise for his position (up €38,000 to €310,000 per annum), would have made it higher paying than that of the US President and made him the highest paid Head of government in the European Union.

Criticism from opposition parties concentrated on the timing of the announcement (following highly publicised budgetary concerns at the Health Service Executive) and the fact that Ahern's increase alone would amount to about four times the basic social welfare payment. On 12 December 2007, it was announced that the first part of the pay rises would be deferred by a year, with the remainder paid in 2009 and 2010.

Attempt to take credit for the Gregory deal[edit]

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan, accused Ahern of attempting in his autobiography to take credit for the Gregory deal by claiming he was present in negotiations between Charles Haughey and Tony Gregory and that he had provided Haughey with estimates from Dublin City Council. The Gregory deal was an agreement negotiated between the independent socialist TD Tony Gregory and Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey in the aftermath of the February 1982 general election, which resulted in a hung Dáil. In return for supporting Haughey, Gregory was promised a deal worth 100 million pounds at the time, which was to be used to redevelop North Inner City Dublin and to provide a greater number of houses and employment in an area which was considered Ireland's poorest and most disadvantaged.[82][83] Ahern had gone with Haughey to the negotiations with Gregory; he was immediately asked to leave by Gregory and was forced to wait publicly in his car outside for three and a half hours. Although both had been elected to the same constituency, they were fierce rivals and the relationship between them was often sour. O'Sullivan was an election agent for Tony Gregory and successor as a TD.[84]

Payments scandal[edit]

Ahern was investigated by the Mahon Tribunal, following an allegation by Tom Gilmartin, that Ahern had been paid money by Owen O'Callaghan in return for favours. The Tribunal found that Ahern's explanations for lodgements to his various accounts could not be true, and thus Gilmartin's allegation could not be disproved. One lodgement of IR£30,000, in 1994, took place in the weeks following the circumstances Gilmartin described, with contemporaneous AIB notes confirming Gilmartin's account of Ahern assuring Owen O'Callaghan that a rival development at Blanchardstown would not get tax designation, and on the same day as a meeting with Owen O'Callaghan's bag-man, Frank Dunlop. The Tribunal were, however, unable to conclusively prove that the lodgement was not merely coincidental. The Tribunal also discovered that Ahern, when Taoiseach, had visited Dunlop in the weeks immediately subsequent to Dunlop's admission of corrupt payments on behalf of Owen O'Callaghan, prior to Dunlop resuming the witness stand to elaborate further on his activities.

Admission of undeclared payments[edit]

Ahern was criticised by the Moriarty Tribunal for signing blank cheques for the then Taoiseach Charles Haughey, without asking what those cheques were for. Ahern told the tribunal that a policy of signing blank cheques was used on the Fianna Fáil party leader's account for reasons of "administrative convenience".[85] In September 2006 The Irish Times printed claims allegedly leaked[86] from the Mahon Tribunal that Ahern had received money from a millionaire businessman while Minister for Finance in 1993.

The editor of The Irish Times defended the publication as being in the public interest at a hearing of the tribunal, saying that it was not a party to the Supreme Court case which restrained the Sunday Business Post from publishing leaked documents. This order was directed against the Sunday Business Post but its interim order purported to restrain all media outlets from publishing confidential material from the inquiry.

Ahern has admitted that he did receive money but said on being interviewed that:

What I got personally in my life, to be frank with you is none of your business. If I got something from somebody as a present or something like that I can use it.

What Ahern said in 1996, while in opposition:

The public are entitled to have an absolute guarantee of the financial probity and integrity of their elected representatives, their officials and above all of Ministers. They need to know that they are under financial obligations to nobody. (Dáil Éireann transcript, December 1996)

This contradiction has been criticised in editorials in both the Irish Independent[87] and The Irish Times[88]

Six days after the payments were publicised, Ahern admitted in a[89] television interview[90] that he had received two payments totalling IR£39,000 (€50,000) in 1993 and 1994. Ahern regarded the money as a loan, but he conceded that no repayments had at that time (September 2006) been made and no interest has been paid. He said that he had attempted to repay it, but that his friends would not accept repayment. He claimed that he had "broken no codes – ethical, tax, legal or otherwise".

On 28 November 2007, former NCB managing director Padraic O'Connor at the Mahon Tribunal, "directly contradicted Mr Ahern's claims that long-standing friends gave him a loan just after Christmas 1993."[91]

In the same interview, he also claimed that he received a payment of £8,000 from a group of 25 businessmen in Manchester on one occasion. He stated that this money was again unsolicited, that it was a gift and therefore not subject to tax as it had been received when abroad, and that it was paid to him after he gave an after-dinner speech at an ad hoc function. He claimed that the money was given to him as a private citizen, not to him in his then role as Minister for Finance, and that no other payments were received by him after speaking at other similar functions. The Irish Times reported on 30 September 2006, that part of this payment was actually a cheque drawn on NCB Stockbrokers, a large Irish company. In its final report, the Mahon tribunal found that, contrary to his sworn evidence, no 'dig-outs' in 1993 and 1994 were arranged to give money to Mr Ahern and that large dollar and sterling cash lodgements were made to his bank accounts in the mid-1990s.[92] A number of his benefactors have received appointments as directors of State boards.[93][94] Insisting that no favours had been offered or received, Ahern said:

I might have appointed somebody but I appointed them because they were friends, not because of anything they had given me.

Under the Standards in Public Office Commission's rules,

State appointments should be made on the basis of merit, taking into account the skills, qualifications and experience of the person to be appointed.

Members of Dáil Éireann must conduct themselves[95]

in accordance with the provisions and spirit of the Code of Conduct and ensure that their conduct does not bring the integrity of their office or the Dáil into serious disrepute.

In the face of negative publicity, Ahern has repaid the monies advanced to him, with 5% interest, totalling €90,000.[96]

On 3 October 2006, Ahern made a 15-minute statement in Dáil Éireann defending his actions in taking loans totalling IR£39,000 (€50,000) from friends in Ireland and £8,000 (€11,800) as a gift from businessmen in Manchester in 1993 and 1994.[97][98][99] In his statement he apologised for the distress his actions had brought saying:

The bewilderment caused to the public about recent revelations has been deeply upsetting for me and others near and dear to me. To them, to the Irish people and to this house, I offer my apologies.

Confirmation of sterling cash lodgements[edit]

On 20 March 2008, at the Mahon Tribunal the disclosure, [100][101] of lodgements of £15,500 sterling into building society accounts of Ahern and his daughters was accepted as a matter of probability by Ahern's former secretary Grainne Carruth.

Previously in her evidence, Carruth, on 19 March 2008 had said, that she had not lodged sterling for Ahern, while she accepted (as a matter of probability), a day later, that she must have lodged sterling on Ahern's behalf based on the paperwork available although her recollection is that she never had sighting of sterling at any time.[100]

Ahern had told the tribunal during his evidence in February 2008, that the lodgements to his and his daughters' accounts had come from his salary as a politician.

"No bank account"[edit]

Further questions were raised about IR£50,000 (€63,300) which he had lodged in his bank account in 1994. He claimed this was money he had saved over a substantial period of time (1987–1994) when he had had no active bank account. During this period he was Minister for Labour and subsequently Minister for Finance. He was asked by Labour leader Pat Rabbitte whether, in the absence of a bank account, he had kept the money in a "sock in the hot-press" and Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins asked if he had kept the money "in a shoe-box". Ahern replied that he had kept the money "in his own possession".

Payment in relation to house[edit]

On 5 October 2006, further information emerged[102] in the Dáil that Ahern had bought his house in Dublin, from Manchester-based Irish businessman, Micheál Wall, who was at an event in Manchester in 1994, where the Taoiseach received a payment of GBP£8,000 (€11,800). This caused further tensions within the government coalition parties.

On 10 October 2006, the Taoiseach[42] again told the Dáil that it was an "error of judgement" for him to have accepted loans and gifts for personal purposes in the early 1990s.

Ahern expanded on his apology to the Dáil of the previous week, which he described as unqualified. Ahern said there would now be a change in the ethics law requiring office holders offered a gift from friends to consult the Standards in Public Office Commission[103] and to accept their ruling.

Money from developer[edit]

Allegations had been made that he had taken IR£50,000 (€63,300) from a property developer, Owen O'Callaghan, in return for favours at this time. Ahern won a libel action against a Cork businessman, Denis "Starry" O'Brien, defending himself against this allegation.

However, broadcaster Eamon Dunphy, has testified in the Mahon Tribunal that he was told by developer Owen O'Callaghan, that Ahern was "taken care of" to support a shopping centre development in the 1990s.[104] This followed the initial allegations, denied by Ahern and O'Callaghan, by retired developer Tom Gilmartin, that O'Callaghan told him that he had given Ahern a payment of £50,000 in 1989, and a payment of £30,000 in 1993, in connection with a development of lands at Quarryvale, west Dublin. Gilmartin further alleged being told that O'Callaghan had paid Ahern in excess of £20,000 in relation to tax designation of a site in which O'Callaghan had an interest in Athlone, the designation having been Ahern's last act as Finance Minister, before the Fianna Fáil-led Government fell in December 1994.

Ahern was responsible for placing disgraced former Dublin West TD Liam Lawlor, as head of the Dáil Ethics Committee, despite having been told by Tom Gilmartin many years beforehand that Lawlor had corruptly demanded money and had thwarted Gilmartin's plans when Gilmartin refused to comply.

In March 2007, one of Ahern's Manchester benefactors, Paddy "The Plasterer" Reilly, was appointed as the Fianna Fáil director of elections, for Ahern's Dublin Central constituency.

In April 2007, it was alleged[105] in a statement by his former official driver, that Ahern in 1994, while Minister for Finance, took a briefcase full of cash to Manchester. This has been denied by Ahern.

While the payment details initially seemed to damage Ahern's standing, the result of the 2007 general election, indicated that the damage was minor. In April 2007, an opinion poll found that nearly half of voters believed Ahern still had questions to answer over the payments controversy.[106]

Money given to Celia Larkin[edit]

On 2 February 2008, it emerged at the Mahon Tribunal that a house was bought by Ahern's former partner Celia Larkin in 1993, with money donated to Ahern's constituency organisation in Drumcondra.[107] There was no documentation to back up this loan to Larkin or to prove around IR£30,000 in other expenditure from this account.

Dublin businessman Tim Collins has denied that Ahern was a joint holder of the so-called BT account from which Larkin was loaned IR£30,000 without documentation to describe the loan agreement.[108] Tim Collins denied that the BT account referred to Bertie and Tim, even though he operated a joint account with Des Richardson known as the DT account.[109]

Appearance at the Mahon Tribunal[edit]

On 13 September 2007, Ahern commenced four days of testimony under oath at the Mahon Tribunal. On 13 September, Ahern admitted that he had not cooperated with the Mahon planning tribunal.[110][111] On 14 September 2007, inconsistencies in Ahern's statements to the Tribunal emerged, after he changed his story on the infamous IR£25,000 dig-outs.[112]

On 21 September 2007, Ahern again changed his story and said he could not remember key events at the centre of the controversy.[113]

Tribunal Chair, Judge Alan Mahon, said there were "significant gaps" in the money trail provided by Mr Ahern which "would have made it impossible for the tribunal to follow the trail".[114]

Judge Gerald Keyes accused Ahern of having no recollection of buying £30,000 of luxury items in the early 1990s.[115]

Judge Mary Faherty, accused Ahern of giving "polar opposite" accounts of why he withdrew IR£50,000 from AIB in January 1995.[116]

On 24 September 2007, there were further discrepancies, memory lapses and contradictions to his testimony under oath[117] with Ahern agreeing with the assertions of the tribunal that there are inconsistencies and contradictions in his statements compared to bank records and the testimony of Larkin.[118][119]

Journalist Vincent Browne, has asserted that "Ahern's numbers game just doesn't add up".[120]

Again on 20 and 21 December 2007, Ahern spent two further days under questioning by the Mahon tribunal about his finances in the 1990s.[121] In January 2008, it was revealed that Ahern was in discussion with the Revenue Commissioners about his liability for tax on the sums received in Manchester and on his tax clearance status as declared in 2002, before details of the Manchester payments were revealed.[122][123] The then opposition leader Enda Kenny said it was not acceptable to have a Taoiseach who could not declare compliance with the tax codes.[124]

On 12 February 2008, it emerged[125] that the Mahon tribunal did not have all of the information provided to it, contrary to Ahern's assertion in the Dáil that he had provided all information to the tribunal. Ahern has taken a High Court action to prevent the tribunal from questioning him on the information that he released in the Dáil in 2006.[126]

The total value of lodgements and other transactions involving Ahern was said to exceed £452,800. The lodgements and transactions occurred between 1988 and 1997, although the vast bulk of the money was lodged in the period to 1995.[127]

On 4 June 2008, Ahern admitted that he knew about sterling deposits before his secretary's testimony,[128] but said to laughter at his Tribunal appearance on that day that those deposits were winnings from horse racing.[129]

Tax Clearance Certificate[edit]

The Standards in Public Office Commission was asked to investigate Ahern's declaration of tax compliance after the 2002 general election.[130] In mid-January 2008, it emerged in the press,[131] reportedly as leaks from parties to the Mahon tribunal, that Ahern would not be in a position to present a Tax Clearance Certificate to the Dáil, as required under ethics legislation. This certificate is issued by the Revenue Commissioners to persons who have shown themselves to be tax compliant. To meet legal requirements, this certificate should have been presented to a Dáil committee by 31 January 2008, by all those elected to the Dáil. A caveat allowed that in the absence of this, a certificate stating that the Dáil member was in negotiation with the Revenue Commissioners would suffice. An inability to declare tax compliance by a prominent individual such as Ahern would prove highly embarrassing, and could potentially have had more serious repercussions. The Standards in Public Office Act (2001) determines the tax clearance requirements for persons elected to the Oireachtas, and others. The making of a false declaration would also be an offence.[132]

Ahern's inability to furnish a tax clearance certificate led to further calls for his resignation. He was, at the time, the only member of the Oireachtas not to have a tax clearance certificate.[124] On 14 January 2008, while on a visit to South Africa, Ahern accused Enda Kenny, Leader of the Opposition of telling[133] a "bare-faced lie" about Ahern's tax situation. Ahern and Fianna Fáil's response has not addressed the issue, but has attacked the leaking of Ahern's tax affairs so as to attempt to enable the non-compliance issue to be ignored.

Ahern admitted to the Mahon Tribunal on 21 February 2008, for the first time, that he did not pay tax on substantial payments that he received when Minister for Finance in the 1990s.[134]

Mahon Tribunal Final Report[edit]

The Mahon Tribunal report was made public on 22 March 2012.[135] A key finding was that:

Much of the explanation provided by Mr Ahern as to the source of the substantial funds identified and inquired into the course of the Tribunal's public hearings was deemed by the Tribunal to have been untrue.

— Mahon Tribunal

While the report did not accuse Ahern of corruption, it stated that it totally rejected his evidence and that of related witnesses about the sources of monies in his own and related bank accounts, and that Ahern failed to truthfully account for a total of IR£165,214.25 passing through accounts connected with him.[136][137]

In 1993, the then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and Ahern, who was then Minister for Finance, wrote to developer Owen O'Callaghan seeking a substantial donation. At the time O'Callaghan was heavily involved in lobbying for state support for a stadium project at Neilstown, County Dublin. According to the report, O'Callaghan felt compelled to donate a sum of IR£80,000 to Fianna Fáil to get funding for the stadium. The Mahon Tribunal said it did not find the payment to be corrupt. However, the report said pressurising a businessman to donate money when he was seeking support for a commercial project was "entirely inappropriate, and was an abuse of political power and government authority".[138]

Public image[edit]

Ahern's presentational style has been described as Bertiespeak.

"It is not correct, and if I said so, I was not correct – I cannot recall if I said it, but I did not say, or if I did, I did not mean to say it – that these issues could not be dealt with until the end of the Mahon Tribunal." [139]

In 2004, Joe Higgins described Ahern's response to questions as "like playing handball against a hay stack. You hear a dull thud but the ball never comes back to you."[140] Ahern features as one of the main characters portrayed in spoof radio comic strips Gift Grub and Nob Nation. The fortnightly magazine The Phoenix featured "De Diary of a Nortsoide Taoiseach", a satirical column written from Ahern's point of view in a phonetic transliteration of his broad north Dublin accent.[141] His idiosyncratic delivery made Ahern a doyen of satirists and impersonators, from Dermot Morgan (in the 90's) to Mario Rosenstock (RTÉ 2 TV, 2012). Ahern was satirised in a spoof publication Bertie's little book of ethics.[142]

In October 2010, he and some other News of the World columnists appeared in a TV advertisement for the newspaper where they were seen sitting inside kitchen fittings. In his section of the advertisement, he was seen sitting inside a kitchen cupboard, with tea and gingernut biscuits.[143] Opposition parties described the skit as "terrible" for the country.[144] Miriam Lord of The Irish Times described him in this incarnation as "looking and sounding like Drumcondra's answer to Rodney Dangerfield",[145] while Lise Hand of the Irish Independent commented that he was "surrounded by vegetables, ginger nuts and the disintegrated remnants of the dignity of his former office".[146] When asked for an explanation by the Sunday World, Ahern replied that it was "just a bit of craic" and that "you [journalists] get paid more [than columnists]".[146]

In September 2011, Ahern said he believed that he would have "done all right" in the presidential election but for the decline in the popularity of Fianna Fáil. Ahern confirmed he considered running in the election. "I still would have done all right. I mean they have done some figures and I would probably sit in around 30 per cent, which you haven't a hope with as the party is on 20 per cent." He added that "the party popularity is the thing that snookers it, because if your party isn't winnable..." Ahern said: "If there was no downturn and if it wasn't all the hassle of the tribunals and everything else, then you could have had a good run at it." He predicted that "nobody is going to win it outright – like Mary McAleese had it won on the first count". Asked about a possible future candidacy in the following presidential election, he said: "Normally what happens in this country, if a president does a good job they stay on, so that's 14 years, so that ends any chance that I'll have." He also rejected suggestions that the Mahon tribunal would reject the evidence he gave on his personal finances. "The only thing that is important to me is the central allegations. And what the tribunal says about the other trash is irrelevant."[147]

Micheál Martin said the former taoiseach was "out of touch with reality" if he believed he could have won the presidency for Fianna Fáil. Martin also said expenses paid to Ahern in his capacity as a former Taoiseach were too high and should be reduced. He was commenting on reports that Ahern had claimed €265,000 for "secretarial services" and €7,500 on mobile phone bills since he stepped down in May 2008. Under the current expenses regime, a former Taoiseach may employ two secretarial assistants for up to five years after leaving office and one indefinitely after that.[148]

In September 2011, Ahern was criticised by his party, Fianna Fáil, with a senior party figure saying "Every public utterance he makes digs it deeper every time. From the day he left the Dail, it's been one thing after another. The party members are very pissed off. It's coming up right across the country."[149][150]

A biography of Ahern was published in 2011, Bertie: Power & Money, by Colm Keena,[151][152]

Retirement from politics[edit]

On 30 December 2010, in a speech to his party cumann in the Dublin Central constituency, he announced that he would not be contesting the 2011 general election.[153] Ahern said he had made it clear as far back as 2002, that it was always his plan to step down as a TD before he was 60.

Asked if he had any regrets,[154] he said: "If I had seen the banking crisis coming. Nobody advised me, no economist, all those people now writing books saying 'I told you so' – none of them."

On Anglo Irish Bank, he said: "I can honestly say that not once did anyone or any delegation that came in to see me ever say, 'Watch out for Anglo' ... I wish they had have."

Referring to the "great economic storm" currently underway in Ireland, he warned against excessive pessimism: "Some gains have been lost, but in truth many remain. I dearly wish there was no crisis. I realise that it would have been better if some things had been done differently, but I will not denigrate the good that has been done."[155]

However an independent review of the operation of the Department of Finance during Ahern's tenure in government[156] and its performance over the course of a decade, by Canadian expert Rob Wright, revealed how repeated warnings to the government of the dangers of the budgetary policies pursued during the boom years were repeatedly ignored. Ahern declined to comment on the report.[154]

Shortly after announcing his retirement from politics, Ahern attacked his successor Brian Cowen, over Cowen's failure to communicate with the public and criticised the government's handling of the EU/IMF bailout. This attack broke the convention that former Taoisigh should not publicly criticise their successors.[157]

Ahern said in January 2011, there was no hope of Fianna Fáil retaining two seats in his Dublin Central constituency.[158] None of his party candidates were subsequently elected in his former constituency.

He receives annual pension payments of €152,331.[159]

Ahern said in April 2018 that he is considering running for President in 2025 as an independent candidate.[160]

In April 2018, he walked out of an interview with DW News after being questioned on the findings of the Mahon Tribunal.[161]

In October 2018, Ahern was appointed to chair the Bougainville Referendum Commission, which is responsible for preparing an independence referendum in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, which took place in December 2019.[162][163]


Historian John A. Murphy said:

"Did Ahern, in his 11 years of power, make the most of this unprecedented prosperity for the public benefit? The answer can hardly be positive, given the present state of health, education and infrastructure, generally."[164]

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter said:

"There'll be broad consensus around what Bertie did in Northern Ireland, the social partnership and the unity he brought to his own party. Also, he made Fianna Fáil the permanent party of government. They used to have all of the power most of the time, but now they have most of the power all of the time. All of that takes skill. But I wonder will people talk about 'Ahernism'? Is there any such thing? What does he actually stand for? In some ways Bertie's lack of vision was a positive, it made him flexible and willing to compromise, and he was certainly outstanding in that regard. But I dissent from the universal plaudits going around at the moment. He had no social or economic vision for the state he led. There was no fire in his belly. He didn't really want to change society for the better. He was the ward boss writ large. But at the moment it seems it's unfashionable to say anything adverse about Bertie."[165]

Stephen Collins noted that:

"None of his colleagues is really sure whether he is possessed of all the deviousness and cunning attributed to him by Haughey or whether he simply suffers from chronic indecision disguised as political shrewdness".

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary noted in a radio interview that

"Bertie squandered the wealth of a generation and I think in time it will be proven he was a useless wastrel."[166] In November 2009, Ahern was again criticised by O'Leary, being described as a "feckless ditherer".[167][168]

A documentary series – Bertie – on RTÉ television in November 2008 examined the life and career of Ahern.[169][170]

Colm Keena in a biography of Ahern[171] described how "his desire for power and an almost complete absence of political conviction, left him open to the influence of those with strong opinions, whose interests precipitated his mismanagement of the Irish economy."

Ahern is also the subject of a Rubberbandits single released in August 2020.[172]

Post-political activities[edit]

Bertie Ahern, 2011

While still a TD but having resigned as Taoiseach, Ahern was appointed to an international advisory group on conflict resolution on 14 July 2008.[173] In addition Ahern serves as a board member of the peace and reconciliation charity Co-operation Ireland.[174]

Ahern was appointed to an advisory board of an Irish company Parker Green International.[175] He was appointed Chairman of the International Forestry Fund on 1 January 2010.[176]

He wrote a sports column in the now-closed Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday newspaper News of the World.[177]

In 2009, he earned around €467,200, from his speaking arrangements alone. He is registered with the Washington Speakers Bureau[178] which charged $40,000 (€29,200) per speech—and he gave 16 speeches in 2009. He also enjoyed in that period, a €92,672 TD's salary and expenses.

Between his resignation in 2008 and May 2010, he ran up a €5,682 bill for VIP airport facilities and a mobile phone bill of €8,331. This amount claimed by Ahern, was the largest of any former Taoiseach.[179]

In February 2012, he reversed his decision to give part of his pension back to the State.[180]

Since resigning as Taoiseach in 2008, Ahern has been a regular visitor to China. In November 2014, he gave a lecture on cyberspace security at the three-day World Internet Conference in Wuzhen. His handshake with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang while there got pictured on the front page of the South China Morning Post above a story about "internet big hitters".[181]

In February 2015, Ahern received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.[182]

In a December 2015 interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme Ahern said low-pay workers had brought the country to its knees because they got "cocky" and insisted on "second, third and even fourth homes". The former Taoiseach said that the availability of cheap credit through Ireland's involvement in the eurozone created "a huge problem". "Anyone could walk into any institution and seem to get any amount of money and this is where the cocky bit came in. "Unfortunately… Joe Soap and Mary Soap, who never had a lot, got the loans for the second house and leveraged the third house off the second house and the fourth on the third, and you know, what are you having yourself." This drew criticism on radio and on social media for being exaggerated and for blaming the financial crisis on low-income families.[183]

In December 2019 Ahern acted as chairman of the referendum commission for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in a non-binding vote with regards to independence from Papua New Guinea.[184]

Ahern rejoined Fianna Fáil in 2023 amid speculation he was considering running for President in 2025.[4]

Personal life[edit]


In 1972 Ahern met Miriam Kelly, a bank official who lived near the Aherns' family home. They were married in St. Columba's Church, Iona Road in 1975.[185] Ahern has two daughters from his marriage: Georgina and Cecelia. Georgina is married to the Westlife member Nicky Byrne.

Ahern and his wife separated in 1992. Until 2003, Ahern maintained a relationship with Celia Larkin. Ahern was the first, and is the only, Taoiseach to have a legal separation from his wife.[186]

Larkin was appointed to the board of the National Consumer Agency in July 2005, on the recommendation of the Department of the Taoiseach.

Ahern is an enthusiastic and vocal fan of sport. He is a supporter of Dublin GAA and attends inter-county matches in Croke Park.[13] He also supports English soccer outfit Manchester United Football Club and attends matches at Old Trafford, as well as Scottish soccer outfit Celtic Football Club and rugby matches at the Aviva Stadium. He appeared as a pundit on RTÉ Two's The Premiership programme in 2001.[14]

Religious faith[edit]

Ahern is a practising Roman Catholic. He attends Mass every[187] Saturday evening in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. However, he was publicly criticised by Cardinal Desmond Connell, then Archbishop of Dublin, for his public relationship with Larkin.

Ahern has said that he lives by the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and his own conscience, and hopes to get to heaven when he dies. Speaking to Gay Byrne in RTÉ's The Meaning of Life series, Ahern described himself as a regular Mass-goer, but said he had not been to Confession for 40 years. In a lengthy interview, Ahern said that he and the former DUP leader Ian Paisley, bonded over their shared faith when they had their first formal meeting together. The meeting took place in January 2004, at the Irish Embassy in London. He recalled how Paisley began a prayer in the Irish Embassy and he joined in with him. He said the prayer was "like our Confiteor" and officials had wondered why they had spent so much time alone. The pair started discussing their values and the rules by which they lived. His government came under severe criticism for the deal they made with the religious orders, capping their contribution to the redress board at €128 million while taxpayers will have to pay out €1 billion.[188]

As a Catholic, Ahern said he wanted the church "to do well" but that it could not retreat behind canon law. "There was one time when the church tried to put up the defence of canon law and my colleagues just looked up to the sky and thought they were joking. Unfortunately, they weren't joking, they made bad decisions." Ahern said he was convinced that life "did not end at the graveyard" and he often prayed to dead relatives for guidance. He used Mass as an opportunity to pray for people in trouble and stayed off alcohol in November and at Lent. He rationalised inexplicable events, such as the death of a young person, by stating that God "cannot influence every single thing". He said he received a "fair amount of hate mail" about "living in sin", but it upset other people more than it did him and he admitted that he had not lived up to his parents' "stereotype" of married life.[188]


The following governments were led by Ahern:


  1. ^ "Bertie Ahern". Oireachtas Members Database. Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Bertie Ahern to resign from party". BBC News. 24 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Bertie Ahern invited to rejoin Fianna Fáil". RTE.ie. 29 November 2016. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern rejoins Fianna Fáil". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d Dooley, Chris (7 April 1998). "A republican shaped by the War of Independence". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Dillon, Willie (28 April 2007). "Who was Bertie's da?". Irish Independent. Independent News and Media. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  7. ^ "Seanad Éireann, Volume 155, 7 April 1998 – Order of Business". Houses of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Mother remained FF leader's most unswerving supporter". Irish Independent. Independent News and Media. 7 April 1998. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  9. ^ "St Aidan's CBS, Whitehall, Dublin". Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Lies, damned lies... and CVs". Irish Independent. 19 October 2006. Archived from the original on 28 December 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  11. ^ "Bryan Dobson interview with Bertie Ahern". Public Inquiry. 27 September 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  12. ^ "Bertie Ahern, TD". Fianna Fáil website. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Dublin board thanks Bertie". Hoganstand.com. 2 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  14. ^ a b "FG slams Taoiseach's appearance on RTÉ". Archives BreakingNews.ie. 9 September 2001. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  15. ^ BBC Profile of Bertie Ahern Archived 24 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine 12 October 2008
  16. ^ "Bertie Ahern". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  17. ^ "ElectionsIreland.org: 31st Dail – Dublin Central First Preference Votes". Electionsireland.org. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  18. ^ "ElectionsIreland.org: 22nd Dail – Dublin Central First Preference Votes". Electionsireland.org. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  19. ^ "Lord Mayors of Dublin 1665–2020" (PDF). Dublin City Council. June 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  20. ^ Fianna Fáil website Profile of Bertie Ahern on the Fianna Fáil website Archived 7 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine 12 October 2008
  21. ^ Michael Taft "The Recession Diaries: Farewell, PDs – We Wish We Hardly Knew Ye" Archived 30 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Irishelection.com, 20 September 2008
  22. ^ Senan Molony "The 'unbaptised child' in the family of wage agreements" Archived 19 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Irish independent, 18 September 2008
  23. ^ Today Tonight Archived 21 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine RTÉ, 12 July 1989
  24. ^ Brian Lenihan, Jnr Profile Brian Lenihan, Minister for Finance – Political life of Brian starts now Archived 9 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Sunday Tribune, 5 October 2008
  25. ^ "Profile: Bertie Ahern". BBC News. 2 October 2006. Archived from the original on 29 November 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2006.
  26. ^ "Bertie Ahern". CNN. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  27. ^ Haughey was forced to resign in 1992 by revelations, of his complicity in phone tappings of journalists made by Seán Doherty.
  28. ^ "Bertie Ahern – 1993 – Tax Evaders". Youtube.com. 25 February 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  29. ^ Former Justice Minister Máire Geoghegan-Quinn briefly sought candidature, but did not launch a campaign.
  30. ^ The culture of potentially corrupt payments to politicians has continued from that era. In September 2006, details of financial support provided to Ahern by businessmen in 1993 and 1994, both in Ireland and Britain, emerged leading to strains in the coalition Government. Taoiseach details payments of IR£39,000 Archived 24 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Dodd Prize website, http://doddprize.uconn.edu/2003.htm Archived 28 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Blair and Ahern to be honoured for role in Northern Ireland peace process". Queen's University Belfast. 21 May 2008. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  33. ^ Britain has been 'ruled out of the equation' on North, says Ahern Archived 22 September 2021 at the Wayback Machine, The Irish Times, 27 April 1998
  34. ^ "Can we remake Ireland's future?". Irishtimes.com. 1 January 2009. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  35. ^ "Rural Renewal Scheme" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  36. ^ "'Pilot' Rural Renewal Scheme for the Upper Shannon Area" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  37. ^ "Criticism of Rural Renewal Scheme's lack of assessment of developments in early years". leitrimobserver.ie. 21 September 2005. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  38. ^ a b "Celtic Tiger dead as recession bites". Irishexaminer.com. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  39. ^ "/ Europe – Ahern admits to part in Irish crisis". Ft.com. 15 October 2009. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2009.
  40. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs". Eu2004.ie. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  41. ^ It was later withdrawn and a Commission on Electronic Voting was appointed to examine its design and implementation and operation. This commission in July 2006, said that it could not approve the proposed vote-counting software. "Download Second Report PDFs". Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2006.
  42. ^ a b "Taoiseach expands upon apology in Dáil". RTÉ News. 10 October 2006. Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2006.
  43. ^ "Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Payments to Politicians and Related Matters Part I" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  44. ^ "Irish PM addresses UK parliament". BBC News. 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  45. ^ FF/PDs to fall short by 10 seats, FG gains Archived 14 January 2016 at the Wayback MachineSunday Independent, 22 April 2007.
  46. ^ "The Irish Times – Fri, Apr 27, 2007 – Alternative coalition moves ahead of Government parties". The Irish Times. 25 February 2011. Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  47. ^ "Surge for FG as election race hots up".[dead link]
  48. ^ "Alternative coalition moves ahead of Government parties". The Irish Times. 4 April 2007. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010.
  49. ^ Knocking Bertie brings Provos closer to power Archived 14 September 2007 at the Wayback MachineSunday Independent, 6 May 2007.
  50. ^ Fianna Fáil expelled members or consistent nominally Independent members, who had supported Fianna Fáil continuously in the past.
  51. ^ David Sharrock (25 May 2007). "On the spot: 'Teflon Taoiseach' makes it three in a row". The Times. London: News Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  52. ^ McKittrick, David (26 September 2007). "'Implausible' evidence takes toll on the Teflon Taoiseach". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012.
  53. ^ Coalition regains lead over alternative govt. Archived 9 March 2007 at the Wayback MachineRTÉ website article, 13 October 2006.
  54. ^ Second poll shows big rise in Ahern's support Archived 9 March 2007 at the Wayback MachineRTÉ website article, 15 October 2006.
  55. ^ Village Interview with Bertie Ahern Archived 14 November 2007 at the Wayback MachineVillage, 22 May 2007.
  56. ^ Ahern sorry over suicide remarks Archived 8 September 2007 at the Wayback MachineBBC News website article, 4 July 2007.
  57. ^ Ahern apologises for suicide remark Archived 8 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine RTÉ News website article, 4 July 2007.
  58. ^ "First sign of weaker jobs market?". RTÉ News. 6 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  59. ^ "'I made mistakes but don't blame me', says Bertie Ahern as he defends role in downturn". The Evening Herald. 17 July 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  60. ^ "Only a third of voters now believe Ahern".[dead link]
  61. ^ "Kenny blasts 'rambling' Ahern". Irish Independent. 24 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  62. ^ "Ahern accused of making up stories to fit the facts". Irish Independent. 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  63. ^ "Three in four voters unsatisfied by Ahern's testimony". The Irish Times. 11 November 2007. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010.
  64. ^ "Voters divided on whether Taoiseach should resign". The Irish Times. 1 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010.
  65. ^ "Gormley: Mahon revelations distracting government". Irish Independent. 23 February 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
  66. ^ Kerr, Aine (23 February 2008). "Calls for 'embarrassing' Taoiseach's resignation". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012.
  67. ^ Quinlan, Ronald (23 March 2008). "Fianna Fáil TDs to see Cowen over Ahern's fate Concern spreads in party after 'sterling' revelations at tribunal". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  68. ^ Brennan, Michael; Kerr, Aine; Sheahan, Fionnan (28 March 2008). "Ahern 'No' as partners urge him to come clean". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  69. ^ "Greens and PDs call on Ahern to clarify clash of evidence". The Irish Times. 3 March 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012.
  70. ^ Smyth, Sam (26 November 2007). "Beleaguered Bertie is just crawling towards Christmas". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  71. ^ "Ahern to give historic address to US Congress today". Independent.ie. 30 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  72. ^ The six Irish political leaders who have addressed joint sessions of the U.S. Congress are Seán T. O'Kelly (18 March 1959), Éamon de Valera (28 May 1964), Liam Cosgrave (17 March 1976), Garret FitzGerald (15 March 1984), John Bruton (11 September 1996), and Bertie Ahern (30 April 2008).
  73. ^ "Ahern flies out to US to address Congress". Independent.ie. 29 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  74. ^ a b c d "Ahern says Government critics should 'dig the garden or grow bluebells'". Irishtimes.com. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  75. ^ a b "Ahern would testify at banking inquiry". Irishtimes.com. 23 January 2010. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  76. ^ "Ahern accepts he played a role in economic crisis". Irishtimes.com. 15 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  77. ^ Murray, John (15 October 2009). "Ahern admits to part in Irish crisis". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  78. ^ "Bertie Ahern: 'I don't consider myself a romantic person, maybe that was the problem'". The Irish Independent. 20 September 2009. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  79. ^ David Sharrock (29 October 2007). "Have you ever wondered why Bertie Ahern always looks so cheerful?". The Times. London: News Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  80. ^ "Government defers pay increases for Ministers". The Irish Times. 12 December 2007. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  81. ^ Molony, Senan (27 October 2007). "It's not the White House, but for €310,000 it'll do". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  82. ^ "There will never be another Tony Gregory". An Phoblacht. 8 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  83. ^ "Tony Gregory". The Irish Times. 5 January 2009. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  84. ^ "Ahern accused of trying to 'take credit for the Gregory Deal'". The Irish Times. 10 October 2009. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  85. ^ Ahern rapped over blank cheques Archived 14 January 2016 at the Wayback MachineSunday Independent newspaper article, 20 August 2006.
  86. ^ The Irish Times said its sources are independent of the tribunal.
  87. ^ "Politics today is all about survival, and Bertie is a true master of the art". Archived from the original on 13 March 2007.
  88. ^ "Monies given to Taoiseach were repayable". The Irish Times. 9 September 2006. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  89. ^ "Crying game...Dobbo's your uncle". Archived from the original on 14 January 2016.
  90. ^ "Taoiseach details payments of IR£39,000". RTÉ News. 26 September 2006. Archived from the original on 24 February 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2006.
  91. ^ Top broker says Ahern not telling the truth on 'dig-out' Archived 1 December 2007 at the Wayback MachineIrish Independent, 29 November 2007.
  92. ^ Keena, Colm (22 March 2012). "Tribunal rejects 'dig-out' claims". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  93. ^ "Ahern to face Dáil questions over €50,000 loan not repaid". The Irish Times. 22 March 2012. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  94. ^ Connolly Frank, Gilmartin, Page 196, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 12, 2014, ISBN 978-0-7171-6047-1
  95. ^ "CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS OF DÁIL ÉIREANN OTHER THAN OFFICE HOLDERS". Archived from the original on 30 October 2006.
  96. ^ Stephen O'Brien; Richard Oakley (1 October 2006). "Ahern repays €90,000". The Sunday Times. London: News Corporation. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  97. ^ "Ahern, Trying to End Irish Crisis, Acknowledges Error". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  98. ^ "Taoiseach apologises for taking cash donations". Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2006.
  99. ^ "Taoiseach says sorry for taking cash donations". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  100. ^ a b "Opposition says Ahern's fitness to lead now in doubt". The Irish Times. 21 March 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  101. ^ Corcoran, Jody (23 March 2008). "Now we are left with an appalling vista of cash and Bertie". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  102. ^ "Taoiseach says he paid full market value for Dublin home". 26 August 2016.[dead link]
  103. ^ "Code of Conduct for Office Holders" (PDF). Standards in Public Office Commission. July 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  104. ^ "Ahern 'taken care of', Dunphy tells Mahon". RTÉ News. 15 February 2008. Archived from the original on 18 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  105. ^ Ahern denies air trip with a case of cash Archived 14 January 2016 at the Wayback MachineSunday Independent newspaper article, 15 April 2007, Free registration required
  106. ^ Payments to Ahern: the questions remain Archived 14 January 2016 at the Wayback MachineIrish Independent newspaper article, 23 April 2007, Free registration required
  107. ^ "Larkin bought house with Ahern cumann money". The Irish Times. 2 February 2008. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010.
  108. ^ "Ahern 'not joint holder' of BT account". RTÉ.ie. 13 March 2008. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  109. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] Internet Memory – NLI Web Archive" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  110. ^ Planning Tribunal transcript, page 107 Archived 25 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 13 September 2007
  111. ^ Ahern accepts he failed to give complete information Archived 24 October 2012 at the Wayback MachineThe Irish Times, 14 September 2007.
  112. ^ Cracks begin to show in Ahern’s testimony Archived 24 December 2008 at the Wayback MachineIrish Independent, 15 September 2007.
  113. ^ Ahern cash trail: judges home in on the 'gaps'Irish Independent, 21 September 2007.
  114. ^ "Planning Tribunal transcript, page 65" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2007.
  115. ^ "Planning Tribunal transcript, page 97" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2007.
  116. ^ "Planning Tribunal transcript, page 116" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2007.
  117. ^ Taoiseach agrees bank records clash with his version Archived 24 October 2012 at the Wayback MachineThe Irish Times newspaper, 25 September 2007.
  118. ^ Planning Tribunal transcript, page 75 Archived 25 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 24 September 2007
  119. ^ 17 hours in witness box – still no answers Archived 24 December 2008 at the Wayback MachineIrish Independent, 25 September 2007.
  120. ^ Ahern’s numbers game just doesn’t add up[permanent dead link]The Sunday Business Post, 16 September 2007. [dead link]
  121. ^ "Ahern facing second day of questions at Mahon Tribunal". Irish Independent. 21 December 2007. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  122. ^ "Revenue not aware of 'gifts' when issuing Ahern with cert". Irish Independent. 2 January 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  123. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan; Molony, Senan (22 December 2007). "Ahern, taxman talk over mystery £5,000". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
  124. ^ a b "Kenny calls on Cowen to force Ahern from office". Irish Independent. 12 January 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  125. ^ [1] Newstalk106 podcast Archived 16 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  126. ^ Smyth, Sam (12 February 2008). "Privilege judgement may not apply now". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  127. ^ "Taoiseach's transactions now under scrutiny total £452,800". The Irish Times. 3 March 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012.
  128. ^ World Cup (4 June 2008). "Ahern knew about sterling lodgements before secretary's testimony". Independent.ie. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  129. ^ "Ahern: Some sterling lodgements were betting winnings". Independent.ie. 4 June 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  130. ^ "RTÉ News: Fine Gael call for Ahern tax investigation". RTÉ.ie. 19 January 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  131. ^ David Sharrock (7 January 2008). "Bertie Ahern admits disorder in tax affairs". The Times. London: News Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  132. ^ Statement to Dáil Éireann on Code of Conduct for Members – Department of Finance – Government of Ireland
  133. ^ Byrne, Ciaran; Sheahan, fionnan (15 January 2008). "Taoiseach accuses Kenny of telling 'a bare-faced lie'". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  134. ^ Black, Fergus; Reid, Lorna (22 February 2008). "Taoiseach admits not paying tax on IR£10,000". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  135. ^ "The Final Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments" (PDF). Mahon Tribunal. 22 March 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  136. ^ "Live – Mahon Report". RTÉ. Dublin: RTÉ. 22 March 2012. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  137. ^ Murphy, David (11 February 2023). "Bertie Ahern back from the political wilderness". RTÉ. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  138. ^ "Reynolds 'abused power by seeking donations'". Irish Examiner. 24 March 2012. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  139. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (31 January 2008). "Straight answers needed to taxing Bertie questions". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  140. ^ "Higgins feels the new thud of Ahern response". Archived from the original on 23 March 2007.
  141. ^ The Phoenix Archived 12 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, 8 September 2006 and passim. (subscription required)
  142. ^ "Bertie's little book of ethics..." Irish Independent. 8 October 2006. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007.
  143. ^ "Just what we need as we're scraping for pennies – the muppet that caused it all, making a bundle out of acting the eejit". Evening Herald. 5 October 2010. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  144. ^ "Bertie's cupboard antics 'terrible' for the country". Irish Examiner. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  145. ^ "Miriam Lord's week: Bertie in a kitchen press with vegetables". The Irish Times. 2 October 2010. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  146. ^ a b Hand, Lise (5 October 2010). "Meet the latest laughing stock as Bertie comes out of the closet". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  147. ^ Lenihan, Barry; De Bréadún, Deaglán (29 August 2011). "Ahern says fall of FF 'snookered' his bid for presidency". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 16 November 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  148. ^ Gartland, Fiona; Collins, Stephen (2 September 2011). "Ahern's claim on presidency win 'ridiculous'". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  149. ^ Independent.ie (2 September 2011). "Ahern out in the cold as FF cuts him loose". Independent.ie. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  150. ^ "From Taoiseach to whipping boy". Independent.ie. 4 September 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  151. ^ Bertie: Power & Money, by Colm Keena, Gill & Macmillan, ISBN 0-7171-5069-0
  152. ^ O'Leary, Olivia (29 October 2011). "True tale of the Teflon taoiseach". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  153. ^ "Bertie Ahern to step down as TD". RTÉ News. 30 December 2010. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  154. ^ a b City Guides (3 March 2011). "Ahern stays silent on reckless spending". Independent.ie. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  155. ^ "Bertie Ahern says he will not run in next general election". Irishtimes.com. 12 December 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  156. ^ "Review of the Department of Finance" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  157. ^ Books (3 January 2011). "Cowen abandoned by FF after Ahern attack". Independent.ie. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  158. ^ "'Shafted' Mary gets last laugh on Bertie". Irish Independent. 25 January 2011. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  159. ^ Kelly, Fiach (10 November 2011). "Thanks big fellas: Ahern and Cowen get massive pensions". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  160. ^ "Bertie on whether he would run for President: 'I'd think about it'". Independent.ie. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  161. ^ "Ahern walks out of interview over Mahon Tribunal questions". RTÉ News. 21 April 2018. Archived from the original on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  162. ^ "Bougainville 'very happy' to have Bertie Ahern involved". Radio New Zealand. 17 October 2018. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  163. ^ "Bougainville votes for independence in referendum". 11 December 2019. Archived from the original on 12 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  164. ^ "Credit where it is due – and not due". Independent.ie. 6 April 2008. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  165. ^ THE 'CONTROVERSIAL' TAOISEACH Archived 29 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  166. ^ "Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary". The Irish Times. 11 November 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  167. ^ "RTÉ Radio 1 podcast 2009-11-28". RTÉ News. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  168. ^ "The business guru saved his most ferocious attack for former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, referring to him as a "feckless ditherer"". Herald.ie. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  169. ^ "RTÉ Television – Bertie". RTÉ.ie. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  170. ^ Conor McMorrow Political Correspondent (2 November 2008). "Will the real Bertie please stand up?". Tribune.ie. Retrieved 16 June 2010.[permanent dead link]
  171. ^ Bertie Power and Money. Gillmacmillan.ie. 2011. ISBN 978-0-7171-5069-4. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  172. ^ The Rubberbandits (29 August 2020). "Bertie Ahern". YouTube. Archived from the original on 9 September 2020. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  173. ^ "Ahern joins world advisory body". The Irish Times. 7 July 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  174. ^ "Patrons, Board and Supporters | The peace building charity". Cooperationireland.org. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  175. ^ Hipwell, Deirdre (8 September 2008). "Ahern to become Chairman of the International Forestry Fund". Property Week 2010. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  176. ^ "Ahern to become Chairman of the International Forestry Fund" (PDF). hugin.info. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  177. ^ Plunkett, John (5 August 2009). "Bertie Ahern to write News of the World column". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 12 February 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  178. ^ "Washington Speakers Bureau". Archived from the original on 1 March 2000. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  179. ^ McDonagh, Patricia (19 July 2010). "Ahern hits taxpayer with €14,000 VIP tab". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  180. ^ Brennan, Michael (23 January 2013). "Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern does U-turn on 'gift' and takes full €150,000 pension". Irish Independent. Dublin. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  181. ^ McSorley, Anita (22 November 2014). "Bertie Ahern among 'internet big-hitters' in China: Former Taoiseach gave lecture at World Internet Conference this week". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  182. ^ "Convocation to Honor Irish Peacemaker Bertie Ahern and Maryland Congressman John Delaney". Chestertown: Washington College. 20 February 2015. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  183. ^ Kearns, David; Doyle, Kevin (15 December 2015). "'Joe and Mary Soap are scapegoats' – Fury as Bertie Ahern blames 'cocky' low-paid workers for crash". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  184. ^ "Bertie Ahern announces referendum result in Papua New Guinea". Irish Times. 11 December 2019. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  185. ^ Bertie Ahern:The Autobiography, by Bertie Ahern, with Richard Aldous, Arrow Books, ISBN 9780099539254.
  186. ^ Ahern had a relationship with Cecilia Larkin for several years. A previous Fianna Fáil Taoiseach Charles Haughey had a mistress, Terry Keane – A very public affair. Archived 9 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  187. ^ "Fallout from Bertie and Celia's long goodbye". Independent.ie. 13 July 2003. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  188. ^ a b "Ahern reveals deep religious conviction and hope of heaven". Irish Times. 8 February 2010. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2010.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Government Chief Whip
Succeeded by
Minister of State at the Department of Defence
Preceded by Minister for Labour
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Industry and Commerce
Preceded by Tánaiste
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the European Council
Succeeded by
Civic offices
Preceded by Lord Mayor of Dublin
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Deputy leader of Fianna Fáil
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of Fianna Fáil
Succeeded by