Bertie Ahern in challenge to FF leader
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has challenged Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin's view that nothing has changed since Mr Ahern was forced to resign from the party he once led to three election victories.
Mr Ahern also believes Fianna Fail would win more Dail seats in Dublin if Mr Martin did not oppose an application by his former constituency for him to rejoin the party.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, Mr Ahern said his "only interest" was to help win Fianna Fail seats in Dublin.
"All I am being asked to do is to play a local role. Helping locally in an area I know inside out and back to front. But if the perception is that it is something else then that's a problem. I think that is the problem - the perception."
He also disputed a claim by Mr Martin that nothing had changed since Mr Ahern was forced to resign from Fianna Fail after the publication of the Mahon tribunal report in 2012. "The circumstances have changed a lot," he said, "Things aren't the same," he added, in reference to legal challenges taken by associates to the tribunal's findings.
He also played down reports he was interested in challenging for the Ppesidency: "Michael D is a good friend of mine. I think he is doing a very good job and I would make no comment about that." Later he said: "I think it is disrespectful for anyone to talk about the Presidency."