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The many faces of Bertie revealed in documentary

WATCHING Bertie Ahern last night in the opening instalment of TV3's 'The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail' I reflected on the many different Berties who have presented themselves to the media.

Originally, there was the Bertie who, in the words of predecessor and mentor Charles J Haughey, was "the most devious and cunning" member of the FF party.

But that wasn't the Bertie the public knew. Instead, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s he was seen as Bertie the Fixer, a behind-the-scenes solver of industrial disputes.

Then, in 1994, came Bertie the no-nonsense, new-broom Fianna Fail boss. And in 1997, he became the leader of the nation.

But this soon became the era of Bertie the Resolute Statesman, evincing an unsuspected gravitas as he and Tony Blair, with a little help from Bill Clinton and some hitherto fractious Northerners, made history.

We also bought into the notion of Bertie the Boomsayer, assuring us that we never had it so good and that it was only going to get better and better and never mind the naysayers.

Then came Bertie the Pleading Puppydog, dolefully telling RTE's Bryan Dobson that he was entirely innocent of any financial irregularities.

Out of office in 2008 came Bertie the Bubble Dweller, denying in RTE's 'Freefall' documentary that he had any knowledge of what the banks or building developers had been up to.

And in last night's documentary he unveiled Bertie: Revenge of the Reviled by heaping scorn on the "useless bunch of good-for-nothings" with whom he had to contend in FF.

He looked much happier when filmed at the graves of the Republican dead in Glasnevin Cemetery. Standing among true patriots who would never question his motives he got to re-enact the gravitas that had marked his finest hour. It was poignant in a way.

Irish Independent