Monday 22 July 2019

Bertie: Martin's Fianna Fáil is destined to fail

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has predicted Fianna Fáil will remain on the Opposition benches after the next general election.

The former Fianna Fáil leader, who was ousted from the party following the publication of the damning Mahon Tribunal findings, also refused to say if he believed Micheál Martin could lead the party into Government.

Mr Ahern said Fianna Fáil would eventually make a comeback but he thinks the party will take its time.

"It's going have to be incrementally. It's not going to be in one election but they will come back, the party will grow - I hope I live to see it," he told UTV's 'Ireland Live'.

He added: "I don't think they'll be back in the next election. I presume Fianna Fáil will be in opposition - will be the main opposition after the next election. I think that's the role they'll be in and that's that the role I'd like to see them in."

Mr Ahern previously attacked the current Fianna Fáil leader, Mr Martin, saying he did not think much of him and the party was doing "brutal" under his stewardship.

Mr Ahern was forced from the party he led for more than a decade after Tribunal Judge Alan Mahon found he continually lied to the investigation into corrupt payments paid to politicians.

He stepped down as Taoiseach in 2008 and was replaced with Brian Cowen who oversaw the collapse of the Irish economy. Both Taoisigh are due to appear before the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry but Mr Ahern said he has yet to receive an invitation. "I think they have a job to do and the sooner they do it the better before it becomes part of history. These things happened in 2007/2008 so I think they have a job to do and if they can just get on with it hopefully it will be of some benefit for the future," Mr Ahern said.

Before leading the country through the Celtic Tiger years, which eventually led to the collapse of the property market and banking system, he served as Minister for Finance under Albert Reynolds.

He infamously said people who speculate about house prices dramatically plunging should kill themselves after UCD Professor Morgan Kelly accurately predicted the property crash.

In yesterday's interview, Mr Ahern said politics is "nastier now" because politicians do not strongly condemn personal attacks.

"I took the view all of these things should always be condemned and I always did back over the years but unfortunately not everybody did," he said.

Irish Independent

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