Wednesday 18 October 2017

Analysis: Taoiseach may yet emulate Bertie Ahern's long goodbye

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with staff during an announcement by recruitment website Indeed of 500 new jobs at its Dublin headquarters yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with staff during an announcement by recruitment website Indeed of 500 new jobs at its Dublin headquarters yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
John Downing

John Downing

Bertie Ahern was just back from the St Patrick's Day doings at the White House when he decided, with a little help from Brian Cowen, it was high time that he quit.

In fact, he was due in the High Court on Tuesday, April 6, 2008, for a hearing relating to his ongoing battles with the Mahon Tribunal. But instead he called a surprise press conference at Government Buildings and announced he would quit as both Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil. He said the tribunal's focus on his finances was too big a distraction.

But extraordinarily, Mr Ahern's resignation only took effect a full calendar month and some days afterwards, on May 6, 2008. The "long goodbye" turned into several glittering laps of honour, which included an address to the joint US Houses of Congress on April 30, and a hugely symbolic meeting with Ian Paisley at the Battle of the Boyne site in Co Meath.

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