Bertie upset by 60th party reports, says Westlife star
Published 12/09/2011 | 05:00
BERTIE Ahern is upset with how his 60th birthday celebrations were portrayed, his son-in-law said yesterday.
Westlife star Nicky Byrne -- who is married to Mr Ahern's daughter Georgina -- defended the former Taoiseach and his family's decision to host a glitzy birthday party for him in Croke Park in Dublin on Friday night.
He said the GAA headquarters was the "spiritual home" of the Ahern family.
Confirming that Mr Ahern had been dismayed by media coverage of his party, Byrne said: "Of course he is. How could you not be upset by what is going on? It would be hard not to be. It's hard for him to watch and read this sort of thing," Byrne (33) told the Irish Independent.
"It's hard for him to be in a position now, where he is not at a level to defend himself because he is not in public office any more."
The boyband star said there had been just "one protester" outside Croke Park for the function.
"One protester -- when you are listening to radio stations encouraging people to do it. This was about two girls throwing a party for their dad, then all of a sudden people are wondering why it's in Croke Park," Byrne said.
"Croke Park is the spiritual home of the Ahern family. It's been known for years, even before Bertie was a minister, how important the GAA and Croke Park was to him. So it was perfect to have the party -- and anyone can rent out a room there."
Despite the negative coverage, the chart-topping music star said Mr Ahern had "enjoyed" the evening and that "95pc of the public" knew his father-in-law "was a good guy".
"Ireland is in a bad situation at the moment. Is that all Bertie's fault? And the world -- that's all Bertie Ahern's fault too? It is what it is but it's hard for me to watch. But you have to move on," said Mr Byrne, who got on stage to sing the Monkees' hit 'Daydream Believer' at the bash.
Mr Ahern is at the centre of controversy after it was revealed he had claimed €270,000 in expenses since leaving office, more than any other Taoiseach.
He also aroused fury last week when he appeared in a TV3 documentary, 'The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail', describing some members of the party as "a useless bunch of good-for-nothings".
His former partner Ms Celia Larkin, who did not attend Friday's party, has advised Mr Ahern to "shut up", as his views continue to attract controversy.