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Gormley puts aside concerns to praise Taoiseach

GREEN Party leader John Gormley has indicated that he will not raise any further concerns about Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's personal finances.

The departure of Mr Ahern has eased the pressure on his party, which had been demanding a clarifying statement to clear up the public concern about the evidence of sterling lodgments to his bank accounts.

Mr Gormley said he did not want to play "party politics" and instead issued a warm tribute to the Fianna Fail leader who had brought the Greens into government.

"Bertie Ahern gave us considerable help implementing the Green agenda from the first day we arrived in government right up until today.

"He has been generous with his time, his advice and his support," he said.

A Green Party spokesman confirmed that they were content to wait until Mr Ahern's next appearance at the Mahon Tribunal for further clarification.


"We trust once he stands down as Taoiseach, he will continue to devote his attention to cooperating with the tribunal," he said.

Mr Gormley was first alerted to developments on Tuesday when he received a phone call from Mr Ahern. Mr Ahern told him that he had figured out what he was going to do but that he didn't want to tell him over the phone.

He then personally informed Mr Gormley of his decision in a private meeting at Government Buildings shortly before he made his public statement to the nation.

Mr Gormley admitted that he was "surprised" by the news.

He stood alongside his Cabinet colleagues during the resignation speech and nodded his head in acknowledgement when Mr Ahern referred to his achievement in getting Fianna Fail in coalition with other parties.

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He also praised Mr Ahern for the support he had given the Green Party in putting the environmental agenda at the heart of government.

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