| 3.3°C Dublin

Ahern power like 'notches on a bedpost'

Celia Larkin even suggested that Mr Ahern treated his high officer as a power trip.

She told how Mr Ahern viewed power like "notches on a bedpost".

The television documentary has Mr Ahern on tenterhooks, friends said today.

The very fact that Ms Larkin agreed to the interview has him worried that she will disclose details of his financial affairs at a later stage.

Significantly, in the documentary with political correspondent Ursula Halligan she says she does not believe he was corrupt.

It's the first time Ms Larkin has broken her silence and revealed her real feelings about his tenure in power.

She even went as far as to say that the ex-Taoiseach should have stood down after his second election victory.

Ms Larkin says: "It was important for Bertie to notch up three terms in office but it is not about notches on the bedpost.

"In my view it's wrong to stay longer than the term and a half.

"But for Bertie it was important to notch up the longest-serving Taoiseach -- to notch up the three terms in office," Ms Larkin said.

She added that she does not believe Mr Ahern took backhanders.

"I never believed that Bertie was corrupt. If I thought he was corrupt I would not have stayed with him as long as I did."

Ms Larkin was speaking in an interview for an upcoming TV3 documentary, The Rise And Fall Of Fianna Fail, which begins next week.

In relation to alleged corrupt payments being investigated by the Mahon Tribunal, Ms Larkin said: "I don't think the Bertie that I know would ever have set himself up to be a puppet politician or beholden to anybody."

Mr Ahern insisted in the same programme that he is "1,000pc innocent" of all allegations being made against him through the tribunal.

He said that the tribunal has cost him more than half a million euro already, adding that he "just doesn't have those type of resources".