Thursday 23 February 2017

Sinn Fein has 'blown 10 seats' with Gerry Adams as its leader - Bertie Ahern

Barry Lennon

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

Bertie Ahern believes Sinn Fein would have done better without Gerry Adams
Bertie Ahern believes Sinn Fein would have done better without Gerry Adams
Bertie Ahern. Photo: Collins

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said Sinn Féin has "blown" 10 seats because Gerry Adams is its leader.

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Mr Ahern added that he has "no doubt" the Louth TD wants to lead the opposition instead.

The former Fianna Fáil leader believed either Sinn Féin's Deputy Leader Mary-Lou McDonald or finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty could be better than Mr Adams.

"It depends where in the country you are," he said during Independent.ie's podcast The Front Bench.

"If you're in Dublin it's Mary-Lou, if you go to a lot of the countryside it's Pearse Doherty."

"I have to say that if Gerry had have taken early retirement I think that Sinn Féin would be far higher in seats."

Mr Ahern also believes out-going Offaly TD Barry Cowen will lead Fianna Fáil in the future.

The Drumcondra man said he keeps thinking of Mr Cowen for the top job and it "never changes."

He praised his "great performances against the heavy hitters of other parties" during the General Election campaign.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahern could not predict what government would be formed after votes are counted tomorrow.

"By lunchtime Monday, when all the hoo-ha is over they will have to do (a deal) with what the electorate have given them," he continued. "And if the electorate give them the dog's dinner then they have to have a look at putting it together out of that."

Mr Ahern was joined by Labour's Pat Rabbitte on his last day as a TD, who said it was a "shock to his system."

"My wife said to me, 'I hope you don't think you're coming home now,'" Mr Rabbitte joked.

"I'm also the kind of guy that needs a place to go to hang my hat so it's going to be very strange indeed.

"I didn't appreciate the significance of the day until I was told.

"It is a bit of shock to the system because I've been in politics for so long."

Mr Rabbitte praised his party leader Joan Burton during the General Election, saying that it was a great "advantage to have a woman leader."

The veteran politician said that a "woman attracts the kind of attention and comment that would never apply to a male politician."

Listen to the full Front Bench podcast, which is available on Independent.ie

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