Friday 23 August 2019

Ahern fuels speculation of FF return with party

Mr Ahern has not responded to an invitation by the Fianna Fáil cumann in Dublin Central to rejoin the party fold. Photo: Frank McGrath
Mr Ahern has not responded to an invitation by the Fianna Fáil cumann in Dublin Central to rejoin the party fold. Photo: Frank McGrath

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has hosted a gathering of his key supporters as speculation continues to mount surrounding his potential return to politics.

Mr Ahern invited more than a dozen colleagues to attend a "Christmas drinks" event in Drumcondra last Thursday, during which the recent speculation surrounding his possible Fianna Fáil comeback was discussed.

But Mr Ahern has not responded to an invitation by the Fianna Fáil cumann in Dublin Central to rejoin the party fold.

Sources said Mr Ahern had yet to rule out formally applying to rejoin the party and would consider the issue over the Christmas break.

It's understood the chairman of the cumann, local Fianna Fáil activist Brian Mohan, has been contacted by a number of members in favour of Mr Ahern's return.

But sources emphasised that the intervention by Micheál Martin earlier this month means that Mr Ahern's return is unlikely in the short term.

In an interview on Tipp FM, Mr Martin said he does not "anticipate" Mr Ahern becoming a member of the party again.

He said the issues stemming from the Mahon Tribunal report, which made adverse findings against Mr Ahern, still remained.

"Nothing has changed since four years ago," Mr Martin said. "I don't anticipate Bertie Ahern coming back into the party and I don't see any prospect of that," .

Mr Ahern has insisted that he has no desire of taking up anything other than a local role.

"What they're talking about is rejoining the local cumann and helping out, that's all," the former Fianna Fáil leader said.

"People were stopping me and saying 'delighted you're coming back as a TD'.

"I've no intention of coming back as a TD."

Irish Independent

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