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Saturday 22 July 2017

Birthday bash will show how many FF friends Ahern has left

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's ex-colleagues in Fianna Fail will be notable absentees from his 60th birthday party tonight.

He reaches the milestone on Monday and his daughters are throwing a bash for him in Croke Park.

Georgina, the wife of Westlife's Nicky Byrne, and bestselling author Cecilia, are holding the party in a suite at the stadium tonight.

The invitations, which were sent out a fortnight ago, are designed like match tickets. Mr Ahern is expected to be joined by a range of family and friends.

A few of Mr Ahern's former ministerial colleagues are thought to have been invited. But members of the current Fianna Fail hierarchy are not on the guest list.

Despite serving as a minister in Mr Ahern's governments during his 11 years as Taoiseach, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has not been not invited.

And a Fianna Fail source said Mr Martin wouldn't have been available anyway as he has a meeting about the party's renewal in Cork.

None of the present party staff who worked under Mr Ahern are invited, nor is Mr Ahern's ex-partner Celia Larkin expected to attend.

During Mr Ahern's time as Fianna Fail leader and Taoiseach, the relationship between his daughters and his then partner was tense.

Mr Ahern has also been embroiled in a series of controversies over the past fortnight, and has fallen out with senior figures in Fianna Fail.

Mr Martin openly swiped at his former leader on a number of occasions last week, particularly after Mr Ahern had criticised the party's grassroots.

The party has begun to distance itself from its former leader ahead of the forthcoming publication of the Mahon Tribunal's final report.

Irish Independent

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