'I’ve no intention of coming back' - Bertie Ahern rules out running for President
Published 01/12/2016 | 11:25
Bertie Ahern is considering rejoining Fianna Fail but ruled out becoming a TD or future President.
The former Taoiseach has been invited back into the party by his colleagues in the Dublin Central Constituency.
He confirmed to Independent.ie this morning that he has not ruled out rejoining the cumann but has no intention of trying to return to the Dail or even run for the Presidency in 2018.
“What they’re talking about is rejoining the local cumann and helping out, that’s all.
“Yesterday people were stopping me and saying ‘delighted you’re coming back as a TD’.
“I’ve no intention of coming back as a TD. All the local organisation said was they’re inviting me back to join the local cumann to help out.
“It’s just the context of it. You’re talking about a cumann member. I’ll think about it but I mean it has to be in the context of what people are talking about.
“I’ve huge regard for the people who run Dublin Central. They are a good organisation.
“I’ve worked with them, and canvassed with them for 40 years. They are good people and what they are trying to do - they haven’t got a seat, the neighbouring constituency in Dublin North West haven't got a seat, and what they are trying to do is revamp the organisation, build it up and win back the seats in the next general election, when ever that is, next year, the year after, the year after.”
He quit the party in 2012 following the publication of the Mahon Tribunal report.
Asked would he consider running for the Aras and run against possible candidate RTE broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan, Mr Ahern said, “No, I think the President (Michael D Higgins) is going to stay there.”
“She’s (Miriam) running against Michael D.
“My friend Michael D. Michael D is my friend, I’ve great time for the President. He’s a good man,” Mr Ahern said.
Asked is the Presidency an office he would be interested in, Mr Ahern (65) said President Higgins has “another two years, and if he stays I’d be ancient”.
“I hope I’m still alive. Of course all these new leaders like Donald Trump is five years older than me,” he said.
He admitted he felt huge loyalty to Fianna Fail and supports party leader Micheal Martin.
“I support the leader, I support the party, of course I do. My father joined the party 90 years ago. My brother Maurice is in it, Noel is in it, Eileen is in it.”
He admitted he may be able to bring support back to Fianna Fail and the Dublin Central constituency.
“Their point is between myself and my brother Noel we have given 50 years in those two constituencies and we had 25,000 votes plus, so our involvement would help.
“Noel is still involved in North West and they’d like me to be. I wasn’t involved in the last election.”
“All they’re talking about is me helping out in the constituency by joining the local cumann and trying to win a seat back, like Noel is trying to do in the neighbouring constituency. That’s all.
“I’ve huge respect for people in the constituency. I ran ten general elections.
“Noel’s constituency is the first one I ran and got two out of three.
“I ran nine in Central and headed the pole in them all, got three out of five, two out of four and we had a fantastic organisation and they’re now in a position where they’ve got none,” he outlined.
When asked was the reason Fianna Fail had no seat in Dublin Central due to the decisions he and Brian Cowen made, Mr Ahern said he was gone when the recession occurred. He stepped down in 2008 when the financial turmoil was well underway.
“The international recession. I’m just back from Eastern Europe and they’re still feeling the effects of the recession of 2008 there. Watching the American election you can still feel the effects of 2008.
“Unfortunately, with the world recession I would have loved if we could have avoided it in Ireland, even though I was gone when it happened, but I’m afraid my abilities to stop a world recession - I wasn’t that good.”
Reacting to the Fianna Fáil develoments in Dublin Central, Micheál Martin has said he does not see any prospect of Mr Ahern returning to the party.
While stopping short of saying he would block such a move, Mr Martin said Mr Ahern has effectively retired from politics.
He said the party has been rebuilding in Dublin and has moved on generally.
“I don’t anticipate Bertie Ahern coming back into the party,” Mr Martin told Tipp FM.
“ I don’t see any prospect of that,” he added.
Mr Martin said “nothing has changed since four years ago” when he as party leader was preparing to expel Mr Ahern following the publication of the report. Mr Ahern resigned before this happened.
Asked would he actively seek to block Mr Ahern’s attempts to rejoin, Mr Martin replied:
“I don’t think it’s a prospect. The fours I articulated four years ago still stands.”