Saturday 24 February 2018

Despite all the 'yabble', we owe Bertie for Good Friday deal

Ahern's humiliation is written all over him but he did make the peace process happen, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern

I HAD a curiously melancholy experience last Sunday at the Carlow History Festival. Someone who at first glance looked like a sad-eyed old peasant turned out to be Bertie Ahern.

He was there with his daughter Georgina and his twin grandsons to see his son-in-law, Nicky Byrne of Westlife fame, being told about family history by a genealogist. Yet Bertie seemed strangely alone, for no longer do people rush up to greet him. "He looks so old," said my companion. And he does, but he's only 61.

My very first piece for this newspaper was about Bertie, a week after he became leader of Fianna Fail in November 1994. He was different from most leaders, I suggested: "he is neither an egomaniac nor a crusader: he's just a jobbing politician". Mostly, I was trying to answer the question being asked in London political circles: was he was committed to the peace process?

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