Onlookers baffled by Ahern fanfare
IN a week in which Taoiseach Brian Cowen is one of the most hated men in the history of the State, his predecessor continues to be the people's favourite as he struts around Leinster House.
Last Tuesday afternoon, Bertie Ahern walked into the Dail bar to a fanfare of cheers and applause from the Duhallow Community Group on a trip to the Dail, organised by Fianna Fail backbencher Michael Moynihan.
Bertie posed for pictures and mingled with the Co Cork-based community group before making his exit soon after.
The Cork North West TD confessed he did not know what type of reception the former Taoiseach would receive, as the group were not all Fianna Fail supporters. He had wished to bring the current Taoiseach into the bar but Mr Cowen was unable to drown his sorrows with the group as he was taking questions in the Dail.
"The situation was that he [Bertie] was standing outside the Dail after a vote, Mr Cowen was still inside the Dail taking questions, so I asked Mr Ahern if he would come in. I didn't know whether or not he was going to be booed or applauded," he said.
Fine Gael TD and spokesperson on social protection, Michael Ring, who was in the Dail bar at the time, was astonished at the reception that greeted Mr Ahern as he entered the bar.
"It's absolutely crazy, at a time when the IMF are in the country and the EU are aiding our banks, that the architect of it all is getting cheered as if he won the All-Ireland when he walks into the Dail bar. It's an absolute disgrace," he said.