Sunday 22 April 2018

Ahern can safely leave his reputation in hands of history

Until the recession recedes Bertie Ahern will have to bear the burden of public anger, writes Eoghan Harris

When Bertie Ahern appointed me to the Seanad, his media critics predicted it would end in tears. So it has, but not in the way they meant. Last night, when I heard he was leaving politics, I felt both glad and sad for him.

Glad, because he will no longer be a punching bag for the mob of small-minded media mingers who put the boot into him over the past two years. Sad, because he had unfairly become a lightning rod for all the angers of the recession, and as long as he was around he would be attacked.

In time we will take a more rounded view of his responsibility for the recession. Recent polls reveal that a majority of people now accept that no alternative government would have done any better than Ahern. But until the recession recedes he will have to bear the burden of public anger.

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