FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has explained his appearance at a Fianna Fail meeting where he criticised leader Micheal Martin, saying he was just giving a "dig-out" for the son of a close friend and party member.
The former Dublin TD was speaking at a private meeting in support of north inner city candidate Brian Mohan at the Skylon Hotel in Drumcondra last night when he told those assembled that he "doesn't think much" of leader Mr Martin.
He was sitting at the top table leading the rally of about 50 people, made up of seasoned Fianna Failers.
Mr Ahern said: "We still all support Fianna Fail. I don't think much of the leader, I think you all know that.
"I'm not going to say anything nice about him."
He also told the meeting that "The party is doing fairly brutally."
Approached after the meeting, Mr Ahern explained his presence, saying: "His (Mr Mohan's) da helped me for years so we're trying to help him.
"This is only friends. I'm friends with Brian, you know, so we're just trying to give him a dig-out."
Mr Ahern also attempted to clarify his earlier comments and said that he has "no problem" with Mr Martin or any of the current leadership.
When asked about his comment where he said he has nothing nice to say about him, Mr Ahern replied by noting: "Well. I have nothing bad to say about him either."
Mr Ahern, who resigned from Fianna Fail in March 2012 following the findings of the Mahon Tribunal, said he was not playing an active role in the party but was "giving advice".
"I've a gammy leg, so I can't do much walking," he added.
Asked afterwards about his comment in relation to Mr Martin, he responded: "No, I've no problem with any of them.
"No, I said I have nothing against him. I've no connections with him.
"I said nothing bad against him either. I'm just trying to help him out."
Mr Ahern told members 1,200 votes would get Mr Mohan elected.