Sunday 21 January 2018

Praise be to Bertie

Madam – It was good to see Ruth Dudley Edwards acknowledge the role of Bertie Ahern in the Good Friday Agreement. This is not to condone what the Mahon tribunal found wrong in his behaviour.

However, many of us tend to do that: if I feel that I am doing a lot of good in one area, I'll allow myself some indulgence in another. Bertie's unique reward was to speak to the united houses of legislation in England and America. I still remember him announcing directly to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, that "Ireland is at peace".

She is right about Bertie's "absence of ego", but is it a bit unfair to accuse Clinton and Blair of 'grandstanding'? True, Blair emphasised his 'legacy', but we are grateful that he has bequeathed us a peace unimaginable just 20 years ago.

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