Bertie has a chuckle at 'Christie' gaff

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern speaks at Ireland-China business gathering in Dublin (Photo: Graeme McQueen)

By Alan O'Keeffe

Bertie Ahern couldn't help but chuckle when he was introduced to delegations of Chinese business people as 'Christie Burke, former prime minister of Ireland' yesterday.

And the embarrassing gaffe happened in his native Dublin, of all places.

Although it is only a few short years since the end of his decade at the top of the Irish political world, this innocent faux pas was yet another reality check for the former Fianna Fail leader known for his down-to-earth qualities.

He had accepted in invitation to speak at a Big Data Industry Convention at the Four Seasons Hotel organised by the government of the Guizhou province in China.

Chinese and Irish business people were introduced to the former Taoiseach with a large projected name behind the speaker's platform introducing him as 'former prime minister Christie Burke'.

Bertie noticed the mistake and informed his Chinese audience members that the Irish people among them would enjoy the error.


Later, Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke also made light of the mishap when informed, stating he wish he had Bertie's pension.

The meeting was of significance in that the Dublin Chamber of Commerce later signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chamber of Commerce in the Chinese province of Ghizhou which aims to enhance business relations between the two regions.

It was signed by Dublin Chamber CEO Gina Quin and Ginzhi Liu, director of international relations department, CCPIT Guizhou.

Mrs Quin said: "The memorandum of understanding identifies areas of common interest and signals the beginning of what we hope will be a fruitful co-operation between the two regions."

Many parallels exist between the two areas, with the Guizhou government focused on promoting the province as a location for big data investment.