Friday 9 December 2016

Reflections on another fine mess as Bertie bows out

Bruce Arnold

Published 01/01/2011 | 05:00

At the outset of the New Year, just when one seeks to put positive thoughts and aspirations forward and give people hope, along comes the departing Bertie Ahern to mar the process by reminding us of what a mess he made of things.

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Widely acknowledged as his great achievement, the Northern Ireland Peace Process was his surrender of the reunification of Ireland held dear by his party for the last 80 years. The real winner was Ian Paisley, who held us all to ransom until he got a deal -- peace and power-sharing -- that suited him. This included permanently separating Northern Ireland from the Republic. Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair had no choice but to welcome this.

Northern Ireland is to Britain what we are to Europe, the poorest of cousins. But the people of the North must be glad they were rescued by Paisley from any closer ties. They must be glad because of the appalling mess Ahern made of the Celtic Tiger, letting it run out of control, crash and then collapse.

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