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Sunday 15 September 2019

Caustic bloggers waste no time putting boot in

Websites around the world were quick to link Mr Ahern's departure with the recent series of rows over payments
Websites around the world were quick to link Mr Ahern's departure with the recent series of rows over payments

Jason O'Brien

BY THE time various opposition leaders were tripping over themselves to tell the Taoiseach it was "nothing personal" yesterday afternoon, his job was already being advertised on the internet.

Fast movers could apply on the RecruitIreland site for the permanent position with an annual salary of €310,000, a minimum of 90 days holiday, a make-up allowance and a bonus/charity/residential scheme "at employee's discretion".

Of course there is little to suggest that Bertie Ahern is thin-skinned, but even the sickly sympathy offered by fellow party leaders in the Dail was more palatable than much of the caustic reaction on the web to his surprise resignation.

Along with the glut of email forwards -- Robert Mugabe, the corrupt Zimbabwean dictator, will apparently now run for leader of Fianna Fail on a "time for cleaner politics" ticket -- there was gloating and plenty of sly digs thrown. In fact, the kicking of a guy when he was down became so endemic, the niceties of Dail Eireann in the afternoon were in stark contrast, and duly noted.

"People forget that Dail Eireann is a club, and even though Ahern is not the most active member of the club, there is far more sympathy for him among fellow TDs than there is in the country," VinegarHill suggested on the politics.ie website.

And far more than there was on the internet, where his speech and achievements were ridiculed. "Lies, lies and more lies," one claimed while another launched into a diatribe on how Mr Ahern's credentials on Northern Ireland were overplayed.

"He is getting a bit emotional now, I think he's going to lose it," one commentator said during a running commentary. "I feel a little sorry for him, despite myself." It was a minority view.

"Just look at Brian Lenihan's face in the first video -- he looks like someone has told him he has 10 seconds to live," Adam maintained on Mulley.net, while others commented on the placing of John Gormley -- to the right of Mr Ahern -- and the stain-glassed window in the background giving the picture on RTE a faint religious glow. "Spinning to the end," Reveller claimed.

On sites like Twenty Major and GreenInk suggestions were aired that the blogosphere, for the first time, played a significant role in the removal of a political leader in Ireland. Not all agreed on that, either.

"Doing down a good man may have taken place here but it is misplaced to blame the media for that killer blow," Cian of 'Where's Me Country' wrote.

"It was only today that they all heralded Ahern's 'win' in the High Court. In the end he was done in by himself. Actions in the past were not explained properly or fully. It was examined in detail by print and web. The result is that over the course of a-year-and-a-bit the story could not take the strain of that analysis and Bertie Ahern decided to go."

But the email forwards kept coming, many of them re-hashed from earlier explanations and scenarios into his financial affairs.

People just wanted a good giggle. It's nothing personal, Bertie.

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