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Sway it with flowers . . . Bertie adds a sweet scent to the Yes campaign

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern is no "tulip" and knows that the way to impress a woman is to say it with flowers.

Yesterday, Bertie duly obliged on the double, presenting Tanaiste Mary Harney and Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Mary Hanafin with small bunches of flowers.

Bertie and the two Marys were on Dublin's fashionable Grafton Street but there was nothing more romantic in the occasion than a quick walkabout to promote a Yes vote in the citizenship referendum.

All three met at the junction of South Anne Street where they posed for the obligatory photo-shoot with each of them holding up a cardboard letter spelling YES.

It was then that Bertie spotted his moment, quickly turning his attention to the flower seller behind him and presenting the Tanaiste with a small bunch of Irises and his Chief Whip with some lisianthus.

But there were few votes to be had among the many tourists on the busy street and the walkabout turned into nothing more than a 30-yard stroll.

One of the first to shake hands with the Taoiseach was German visitor Daniela Hafemann from Dusseldorf who was in Dublin to see her brother who is doing a PhD here, and also to buy wedding rings for her forthcoming wedding.

"We don't get to see our politicians so close without their bodyguards so it was really great for me to shake hands with him," she said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Micheal Martin said a Yes vote in the Citizenship Referendum will inevitably ease pressure on Irish hospitals, as the so-called maternity tourism trade is brought to a halt.

He made the prediction as he insisted that the Government's referendum is fair, balanced and addresses a blatant loophole in Irish law.

He flatly rejected suggestions the change to the Constitution was motivated by racist concerns.

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