Sunday 17 December 2017

Bertie attacked by drunk man with crutch in city pub

Nicola Anderson and Fionnan Sheahan

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was attacked with a crutch last night in a pub in Dublin city centre.

Mr Ahern was attending a retirement party for a friend at the Sean O'Casey pub, a well-known establishment near the Abbey Theatre, when the attempted assault occurred.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn had also been attending the event but is understood to have left before the dramatic events unfolded.

The former Taoiseach was standing with a group at the bar when a man in his 40s approached them, before taking a swing at them with his crutch.

The man who was described as "extremely drunk" was thrown out of the bar. He was subsequently arrested after he verbally abused a garda who arrived at the scene.

It is understood the arrest was not related to the assault on the former Taoiseach and is believed to have been for a minor public order offence.

The man was taken into custody and was held in Store Street garda station.

Gardai declined to comment on the incident.

The former Taoiseach continued to enjoy the event with friends, and stayed on for a further hour.

Owner of the bar Tim O'Riordan also declined to make any comment.

However, a patron of the pub confirmed the incident had happened but insisted that Mr Ahern had not been injured and said the crutch had connected with the bar counter.

Since departing from office, sources say the former Taoiseach has occasionally been verbally abused by members of the public.

He was previously confronted by a constituent while having a pint in the Goose Tavern pub in Drumcondra.

On that occasion it is understood he was approached by a widower annoyed at the standard of care his wife had received during her final few months.

The former Taoiseach is still a regular in Fagan's, the local pub in Drumcondra, which is near to his home and across the road from his former constituency office of St Luke's.

Mr Ahern no longer has a garda driver since the privilege was removed from former Taoisigh two years ago after the Government came to office.

Irish Independent

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