Friday 23 August 2019

Bertie's a double winner

Proud grandad keeps his eye on the ball as twins are christened

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern celebrated on the double yesterday with the christening of his twin grandsons and another victory for the Dubs.

The proud grandad first attended Rocco and Jay's big bash in Malahide, north Dublin, before later shuttling to Croke Park where his beloved Dubs beat Laois to make it three Leinster titles in a row.

"There is a clash of events but we're going to organise both. We've the party arranged for after the match," he joked beforehand.

The twin boys, who are now almost three months old, slept soundly as new parents Georgina Ahern and Nicky Byrne arrived at St Sylvester's Church in the seaside village.

"They're keeping us awake at night, but that's what it's all about," said a beaming Nicky.

And while their names may have raised some eyebrows at first, the Taoiseach said they are now "well known everywhere".

But after a gruelling few months on the campaign trail, he said he would prefer to see his grandsons plump for entertainment over politics.

"Entertainment is a safer game," he said.

The twins' Westlife uncles attracted a large following of fans outside the church as they drew up in a blacked-out van. Kian Egan attended with his girlfriend Jodie Albert while Shane Phelan arrived with his wife Gillian and their daughter Nicole, who will turn two shortly.

Meanwhile the fourth band member, Mark Feehily, remarked on how their lives have changed so much over the past few years.

"Looking back, to think when we were 18 it was going to be like this, having kids and still being together nine years later . . . it's great," he said.

The first Westlife dad, Shane, said he had no advice for Nicky and Georgina on parenthood but said the band's family tour bus would be well able to accommodate two new guests.

"Having a baby is fantastic, it's a miracle, you take it when it comes. It's great that we can take the kids with us (on tour)."

While most of the 150 or so guests arrived promptly for the 2pm ceremony, Westlife manager and night owl Louis Walsh showed up some 45 minutes late.

"I had a late night, I went to Barbra Streisand," he said by way of an excuse.

"I go to all the weddings and christenings. It's a big day, we're like a family now. Westlife . . . it's like a soap opera," he quipped before rushing inside.

Georgina's younger sister and bestselling author Cecelia Ahern and Nicky's brother Adam were godparents to Rocco, while Nicky's sister and her husband, Gillian and Mark Gallagher, did the honours for Jay.

Speaking outside the church, Cecelia said both boys were "very well behaved" during the ceremony.

Meanwhile, grandmother Miriam Ahern, who arrived with her partner restaurateur Terry McCoy in the same car as Cecelia and the Taoiseach, said that both boys were "thriving".

"It's an absolutely wonderful celebration, we're all very excited. Today is a real family day," she added.

The only sour note to the day was when a photographer used a small camcorder to film in the church.

However, Nicky calmly dealt with the situation, asking for the camcorder and deleting the footage before turning the tables on the phalanx of press photographers by recording them.

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