Niall O’Dowd believes that Ahern’s attack on Sinn Fein is problematic for the party, especially in Irish America:
The reason Sinn Féin is worried is clear. Bertie Ahern is the only figure who comes near in stature to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams among Irish American leaders, so when he speaks in such critical terms it has a major impact on the dynamic. Ahern’s dedicated work over the years on the peace process and his ‘get along manner’ have ensured he is a popular figure in Washington and elsewhere. The Irish government’s position in effect, is the touchstone for most Irish American politicians. When Ahern turned his fire on Sinn Féin he created a lot of puzzlement and confusion among Irish American leaders.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty