Saturday 10 December 2016

When it comes to living on Planet Bertie, charisma is not always refreshing

Published 18/07/2015 | 02:30

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern

It was John Gormley, leader of the Greens, who coined the phrase 'Planet Bertie' in a fiery anti-Fianna Fail speech at his party conference in February 2007. "It's a strange place, Planet Bertie. So strange and so alien to our sensibilities, that it's a planet that we Greens would like to avoid," he declared to cheers.

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But within four months, the irresistible gravitational pull of Planet Bertie had drawn them in, to orbit around a three-term Taoiseach as a coalition satellite. However, John Gormley need feel no chagrin, for Planet Bertie beckoned to many people as a nice place to dwell.

In fact, and in hindsight, it was a celestial body not unlike Pluto: both have friendly-sounding names and both are a mixture of ice and cuddly-looking heart-shaped topography, with a shifting surface seemingly unscathed by hurtling rocks. And despite being the subjects of intense scrutiny, both planets still remain remote, unknowable, but oddly fascinating.

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