Campbell: acknowledge Bertie's vital peace role
Blair's former spin doctor stoutly defends the ex-Taoiseach's role in the North to John-Paul McCarthy
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former director of communications and strategy, says he was "surprised" by the way former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process was being overlooked in the Republic.
Calling this lack of appreciation "just wrong", Mr Campbell told me in a phone interview that in his opinion only "some people" were reluctant to acknowledge Ahern's role in the process that culminated in the successful devolution of powers to a power-sharing executive in Stormont.
When he praised Ahern's political bravery at the public launch of his new Irish Diaries, Campbell said he was greeted by warm applause. When asked if the New Labour operation ever fully understood unionism at an emotional level, Campbell replied that "Tony [Blair] did. Not sure I did." While he described David Trimble as an "extraordinarily courageous operator and leader", Campbell admitted that his diaries are probably unfair on the former Ulster Unionist Party leader.