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Bertie goes to ground, but Celia goes to class

UNLIKE her former partner Bertie Ahern, Celia Larkin opted not to go to ground.

She once was at the centre of Irish politics, a familiar face to many on Kildare Street, and St Luke's in Drumcondra.

But now Celia is a familiar sight on the University of Limerick campus.

The day after the Mahon Report branded her former partner a liar and with his reputation now in ruins, a smiling Celia set off to lectures in UL where she is in the second year of a three-year degree in politics and international relations.

While the Mahon Tribunal raised numerous questions for the ex-taoiseach, the mature student was keeping her counsel yesterday on campus.

Living just outside Killaloe, Co Clare, Ms Larkin has not let the storm surrounding the findings of the tribunal distract her from her studies.

She left her bungalow home -- the former residence of comedian Brendan Grace -- on the shore of Lough Derg shortly before 8.30am yesterday and arrived at UL shortly after 9am for her first lecture.

When approached, she refused to answer any questions on the origins of €90,000 which her former partner received and which was lodged in her accounts.

Walking alongside the University Concert Hall, she remained silent and chose not to utter a single response to the Mahon Tribunal report.

Her only interaction with members of the press was a sympathetic laugh for a photographer who explained he had spent the morning waiting for her appearance.

Wearing a stylish cream coat and carrying a large bag, Ms Larkin walked through the sprawling campus without attracting a second glance.

Subjects studied by Ms Larkin and her second year classmates this semester include: 'Public Policy Process' and 'Government and Politics of Ireland'.

"Students in her course like her and I hear she is very enthusiastic," one lecturer said.

"A lot of the students in her course wouldn't know who she is as they are 19 or 20 and she is gone from Irish politics for several years now.

"The staff here would certainly know who she is, but she is very pleasant to all," the lecturer added. Across academia this week, the main topic of discussion has been politics.

On Thursday morning as the country began to decipher the report in which Ms Larkin was named, the Limerick students went to the polls for the annual Students' Union elections.

Proving to be more adept at using electronic voting methods than administrations previously led by Mr Ahern, the UL students voted online without any problems.


With students voting, canvassing for votes on campus or taking in the Mahon Tribunal, Ms Larkin opted to keep a low profile throughout the day.

She returned home from UL shortly after 11am and didn't leave her home for the day.

A number of friends visited her -- one neighbour even bearing a bouquet of flowers.

Ms Larkin is due to graduate in 2014 -- but who knows what the future holds for her ex-partner.