Friday 21 September 2018

Bertie Ahern

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Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is congratulated at the party’s ard fheis. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Why the coming election is such a vital one for future of Fianna Fáil 

Soon it will be "show-time" as PJ Mara might have said, as the curtain is raised on the election in coming days. This week, the only show in town was the Banking Inquiry. In the aftermath of a crash, there is always a period of shock, followed by an examination of what might have been done to avoid it. Things are always so much clearer in hindsight. Looking in the rear-view mirror of time, it is easy to say how we could have done things differently.

There is nothing to fear in a Yes vote 

President Kennedy once said "Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate". That wise advice has characterised Ireland's approach to the European Union from the outset. We have promoted our positive interests with exceptional success -- the creation of the single market so crucial for our business, the development of the EU's social and equality dimension so important for our society, the development of a thriving agricultural policy so vital for our farmers, and more recently the growth of the EU's leadership on environmental issues so important for the future of God's creation. We have also defended our interest robustly where necessary and will continue to do so, for example, on tax and the WTO negotiations.

Bertie Ahern and Des O'Neill (during exchanges about letters seeking further information) 

Bertie Ahern (BA): So, I mean, you seem to believe and your letters, which I find quite intimidating, and which usually come to me at 8 o'clock on a Friday night, as if I should have all of this detail. I just don't. I don't. And then you say to me get records of '89 to '95 and by quick return have them in a week and then you criticise my counsel because -- I mean, it is an unreasonable position to put to me.

Fruitful discussions give Green light to tackling environment issue 

FOR most of this week Fianna Fail has been in intensive discussions with the Green Party about a policy platform for an agreed programme for government. Agreement has not been reached and it is an open question as to what the final outcome will be. There have, however, been very fruitful discussions and a wide measure of agreement on many areas. On the crucial issue of giving concerted policy priority to the environment, I believe that there is a strong and shared mutual commitment.