I'm blue in the face doing constituency work, says Bertie
Bertie Ahern says he is "blue in the face" doing constituency work despite no longer being a TD and having been forced out of Fianna Fail over two years ago.
The former taoiseach issued a rallying cry to party veterans in his Dublin Central heartland to support the Fianna Fail local election candidate, Brian Mohan and joked: "If you feel inspired by the leader of the Fianna Fail Party, you can do it for him too."
As revealed by the Irish Independent yesterday, in the same address Mr Ahern claimed Fianna Fail were doing "fairly brutal" and that he "didn't think much" of leader Micheal Martin.
Speaking at the meeting in the Dublin Skylon Hotel in Drumcondra, he said: "Sandra (Mr Ahern's assistant) and myself are blue in the face doing constituency things. even though we're long gone. We don't refuse anybody, we still get things every day, trying to get people into hospitals and trying to get things done.
"(But) if we had a councillor, it would make a huge, huge difference and I wish everybody would turn out for the party well in this area – in every election, by the way, in Europe as well as everywhere else."
Fianna Fail has selected Mary Fitzpatrick to contest the European election in Dublin. Before the 2007 general election, Bertie Ahern wrote to his constituents asking them to vote for Ms Fitzpatrick's running mate, and there is a history of bad blood between the two.
"It's better if we win these things, because it will help the party going forward," he told the crowd of around 50 party devotees.
He said he was confident 1,200 votes would see Mr Mohan elected and asked the crowd to get behind the campaign as a personal favour.
He added: "I'm asking you please to give whatever you can. I'm asking you to do it for Brian, I'm asking you to do it for me, I'm asking you to do it for Noel (Brian Mohan's father), I'm asking you to do it for the crew.
"If you feel inspired by the leader of the Fianna Fail party you can do it for him too," he said to rapturous laughter.
He also told the crowd he wouldn't be canvassing door-to-door, stating: "I just don't want to get into an issue that Brian is some kind of a photocopy of ... so we haven't been out trying to look for an argument in this."
He said Sinn Fein were very popular in the area. "What I pick up around the place is the Shinners (Sinn Fein candidates) are doing well."
When approached by the Irish Independent after the meeting, he said he was giving an old friend "a dig out" and had nothing against the Fianna Fail party leadership.