Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern ‘always put Ireland before himself’, his daughter Cecelia has revealed in her most revealing interview to date.
The former leader ‘dedicated his entire life to work’, the 32-year-old told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio 1’s ‘Sunday With Miriam’.
“[My dad has] dedicated his entire life to work,” Cecelia said.
“Some people don’t think it, but he has always genuinely cared and always kind of put Ireland before himself. He’s enjoying himself now and is a great granddad.”
The author also said it was ‘heart-breaking’ to hear of a recent attack on her father in a Dublin pub.
“Nobody wants to hear of their dad being hit over the head with a crutch,” Cecelia said.
“I suppose when it gets personal, that’s not right. I suppose it is hard but growing up with a politician as a father, I’m used to hearing all sorts of things,” she added.
Cecelia also spoke for the first time about the anxiety and panic attacks she suffered from for years.
The panic attacks, which began when she was 19 years old, would affect her daily life and prevent her from going to college.
“They were really quite bad. I’d be on the bus to college and I’d have to get off and go straight back home again,” she said.
“I didn’t want to leave my home, I didn’t want to see anybody, but it helped me observe people and it helped my writing.”
Cecelia said she tried ‘all kinds of alternative things’ and visited therapists for years.
“I did everything I could,” she said.
“ I went to all kinds of alternative things. I went to therapists.
“I’d get on the bus for one stop, get off and walk back. The next time I’d get on the bus for two stops and get off,” she continued.
“Literally as soon as I’d walk out of my home, the floor was juts, it was like an earthquake or something, it was pretty horrible.”
Cecelia also said she was expecting suggestions that her father Bertie Ahern was instrumental in her early success as a writer.
“I was expecting everything that was thrown at me and I took it, I was very strong,” she said.
“I think that now as an older, crankier, tireder woman, if people were to say these things to me I’d have less patience. It would really frustrate me, it does frustrate me to still hear it.”