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Saturday 23 September 2017

Celia Ahern: ‘Dad is fine’ following crutch attack.

Ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was assaulted in Dublin pub last Friday evening
Ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was assaulted in Dublin pub last Friday evening

Cormac Murphy and Alan O’Keeffe

Bertie Ahern’s daughter Celia has told how her father is “fine” following an alleged assault in a Dublin pub.

Best-selling author Celia Ahern said the former Taoiseach was doing fine when asked about the incident in which he was confronted by a man wielding a crutch in the Sean O’Casey pub on Friday night.

When asked about her father’s condition by Alan Hughes on TV3, she said: “He’s fine, he’s fine. He’s still around, he’s still there.”

She had been speaking about her latest novel ‘How To Fall In Love’ and her disciplined approach to writing.

It has emerged the crutch attack on Mr Ahern was the latest in a series of incidents targeting the former Taoiseach.

Mr Ahern has been subjected to verbal abuse and was sent a rope in the post in recent months.

He has even taken to varying his route to his favourite pub, Fagan's, in Drumcondra as a precautionary measure.

On one occasion, a man got out of his car and approached Mr Ahern with the apparent intention of striking him.

On Friday night, it was reported he was attending a civil servant’s retirement party in the city centre pub when he was allegedly hit on the head with a crutch by a man in his 40s.

And, in another incident, he was verbally abused by a driver who pulled up outside Fagan's while he was standing there.

The former Dublin Central TD no longer has a garda driver after the privilege was removed from former Taoisigh two years ago when the Fine Gael-Labour coalition came to power.

However, the Department of Justice has suggested it might be possible for a garda to be re-assigned to Mr Ahern.

It said it was an operational matter for the garda whether to “reassess” the level of protection in place for current or former office-holders.

In Friday night's incident, Mr Ahern was standing with a group at the bar in Sean O'Casey's when Dubliner Ray Connolly approached and swing his crutch.

Mr Connolly became annoyed when he heard Mr Ahern talking about “the good old days” and made towards him, he said.

He was thrown out of the bar and was subsequently arrested and taken to Store Street garda station.

It is understood his arrest was for a minor public order offence rather than the assault on Mr Ahern.

A patron of the pub said the former Taoiseach was not injured as the crutch only connected with the counter.

In another incident, Mr Ahern was confronted by a man while having a pint in the Goose Tavern in Drumcondra.

comurphy@herald.ie

Herald

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