Bertie bags $40,000 - for tips on Celtic Tiger 'success'
Published 27/07/2011 | 05:00
FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is charging American companies a fortune to present a new lecture -- about how he transformed our economy in the Celtic Tiger boom.
The man targeted by many as the architect of our crippling recession, is charging more than $40,000 (€27,554) a time for speaking engagements with the elite Washington Speakers Bureau.
During the lecture, Mr Ahern offers tips to bosses of leading firms on how to be competitive.
The former Fianna Fail leader has been employed for a number of years as one of the highest-paid speakers with the bureau -- whose motto is 'Connecting you with the world's greatest minds' .
In his latest lecture -- entitled 'Prime Minister as CEO' -- he tells listeners to adopt Ireland's Celtic Tiger as a model of economic growth.
Last night it was described as "bewildering".
Bosses of the bureau refused to reveal the number of times Mr Ahern has been hired for engagements.
However, a well-placed source said he is now one of the most sought-after of the 346 speakers on their books.
His fee, which is listed as being more than US$40,000, is in the top bracket and shared by just 57 other mostly American speakers, including former US President George W Bush.
A gushing profile, listed on the website of the bureau, pays tribute to what many regard as Mr Ahern's greatest achievement in office -- his key role in forging the Good Friday Agreement.
But it is his speech on the economy which promises to reveal how Irish citizens accepted "short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term gain", which has raised most eyebrows.
The outline of the speech reads: "Leading the turnaround of an entire country is akin to the constant evolution companies and organisations must undergo to remain competitive.
"Bertie Ahern dedicated his career to re-inventing his country's economic and political stakes in global affairs. He persuaded his fellow politicians and citizens to accept short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term gain.
"His ability to persuade his constituents to follow his vision provides lessons for even the most seasoned executives."
In this thought-provoking presentation, Mr Ahern describes:
•His approach to developing and executing a successful long-term vision.
•How to persuade employees, customers and stakeholders to participate and embrace change.
•What every leader must do to achieve large-scale success.
•How to successfully bring people with you by building consensus.
Labour TD Ciaran Lynch last night said he was astonished that companies would want to employ Mr Ahern to give them advice on how to be competitive.
And he said the news would sit badly with the majority of the Irish population, particularly people crippled by debt due to "the errors made when Mr Ahern was Taoiseach".
He added: "It's absolutely bewildering, particularly given the worldwide coverage of Ireland's economic collapse, that he's being promoted as a strategic thinker for companies.
"The mismanagement of the Irish company happened under his watch and it must be frustrating for the Irish public to hear about the huge payments he's getting for this speech, while so many of them live in desperate situations."
Mr Ahern also gives three other speeches for the bureau -- 'Leadership in Changing Times: What It Takes to Succeed', 'The Future Role of the European Union on the World Stage' and 'Peace Through Inclusive Dialogue: Ireland's Journey'.