THE prospect of Bertie Ahern running in the first direct elections for mayor of Dublin has been dismissed as "same old, same old" by his former friend and ex-lord mayor of the capital, Royston Brady.
He also said that if the former Taoiseach was to become the new mayor, he would bring the "same cabal of people" along with him.
Mr Brady (37), who is expected to run for mayor himself, used to work closely with Mr Ahern in the Dublin Central constituency, but their relationship has soured in recent years.
Mr Ahern has been typically cryptic in his utterances on the mayoral race, saying he would consider running only if the position was given executive powers, including the power to raise taxes.
"I think the city and the country have moved on," said Mr Brady. "The people will be given the choice and do they want the same old, same old?"
Mr Brady, who once ran unsuccessfully for the European Parliament, accused Mr Ahern of linking himself to the position to get attention.
He added: "I don't honestly think he is serious. He is pouring his heart out to 'VIP' magazine and no disrespect to 'VIP', but that's light entertainment. Quite honestly, that it is gone that way for him is pretty sad."
Labour's Ruairi Quinn is currently the bookies' favourite at 5/2 with Paddy Power but he has so far declined to say if he will run.
Another favourite, Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell, says he is "open" to the idea but will first have to see what powers and role the mayor will have.
But the fourth contender, David Norris, has firmly ruled himself out of the running.
"I wouldn't touch it," said Mr Norris. "But if they gave me a nice house in the Phoenix Park and a Rolls Royce, then I might think about it."
Rugby pundit George Hook has said he would run if Mr Ahern did, and campaign on an anti-Ahern platform.