The fool, the fools….by his friends you know him

Bertie Ahern has retired from public life, like many of his colleagues will shortly do against their will, in front of the people that brought him into political life – the O’Donovan Rossa Cumann, he joined 40 years ago

He made a long speech to friends, make of it what you will:

Today it is hard, and for some it seems impossible, to keep faith with Ireland’s tomorrow. I know and I understand that now we are in the eye of a great economic storm. People’s confidence has been knocked back. Plans for the future have been put on hold. Aspirations have been sundered. And for some, for those who have lost their jobs, there are truly difficult circumstances and really hard times.

I dearly wish there was no crisis. I realise that it would have been better if somethings had been done differently. But I will not denigrate the good that has been done, or belittle the effort it took to achieve it. The onward trajectory of this island’s destiny is forward-moving, it is progressive, it is the fairer and republican society we aspire to.

You that would judge me, do not judge alone/
This book or that, come to this hallowed place/
Where my friends’ portraits hang and look thereon,/
Ireland’s history in their lineaments trace,/
Think where man’s glory begins and ends/
And say my glory was I had such friends.

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  • The Word

    “I entered politics because I wanted to serve my community, my constituency and my country.

    I passionately believed politics to be a noble profession.

    Decades later, and an older man, I still hold firmly to that view.”

    Nothing wrong that attitude.

  • Mark McGregor

    The Word,

    And his proven legacy of serving bankers and developers to the financial destruction of his country balances out how exactly?

  • The Word


    I wonder would you say the same thing to Tony Blair. Or is this just a northern republican verdict on a southern republican.

    Where there is real politics there are real rich people trying to control it. They didn’t do that too well in the southern case. You could say that they shot themselves in the foot. Only they and Bertie and co know that they weren’t in control.

    The government made mistakes. As did the US, UK, German, and French. Then before that was the Asian crisis that sank the Japanese for a while.

    Trying to suggest that there is some superior ethic among the northern republican community flies in the face of the reality that they’ve been all over the place ethically. And they still have no strategy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Berty should have said.

    “Jaysus I made a complete pigsmickey out of this party and the country and for that I humbly apologise”

    The man had no bank account, no standards in public life and no fecking economic sense.

  • Mr Ahern should voluntarily rescind his right to the various outrageously high pensions he is entitled to and should return to his father’s job of gardner and lickspittle. I would gladly giving him some work weeding my garden and working on my compost heap if he did the right thing and worked in Trappist like silence.

  • JeanMeslier

    “..Or is this just a northern republican verdict on a southern republican..”
    Republican – my arse. He’s a stater just like the Offaly boy who succeeded him

    “..The government made mistakes..”
    Toadying holds no sway with the voters any more.

    “..And they still have no strategy..”
    You hope old boy, you hope.

    Ursula Hannigan on TV3 tonight said she has never seen anything like the anger being aimed at FF by ordinary people since the penny finally dropped.
    I wonder if nice boy Bertie was thinking of “The onward trajectory of this island’s destiny ” as he stuffed the £50 sterling notes into a brown paper bag in Manchester after declaring his then financial diffs?

  • Munsterview

    This morning I listened to the in depth analysis and round up of the year on RTE radio. A few things to note here regarding Bertie.

    Bertie build up what became known as the ‘Drumcondra Mafia’ that in it’s day was one of the best financially resourced and most effective political ward machines ever seen in this Island. One has only to look at the voting returns for Bertie to see how effective that machine was.

    ‘De Brudder’, Maurice was a key figure in that machine and had a good Council profile, yet the fabled machine failed to elect Maurice in it’s last hurrah, most of the machine was still intact, but the votes were just not there. The writing was clearly on the wall for all to see.

    Bertie could ‘walk on water’ in that constituency : not any more he could not even walk down the road for a pint without being accosted and berated about the economy and the mess that he in particular and Fianna Failed in general have made of the economy and everything else.

    The bitter and unavoidable truth for Bertie was that he could not get re-elected even with transfers in his own stomping ground where he was the undisputed king and accomplished expert of stroke, ward, politics.

    Many of the fabled machine have or are also now retiring and like more than a few other areas of the country where such machines were centered on personalities rather than balanced between politics and personalities, when the personality crashes or fizzels out, as with Dermot Ahern, Dempsy, or a big beast like Bertie, then the organization has to be rebuild from the ground up.

    In most constitutiences Fianna Failed depended on the fifty to sixty plus age group for the cumann core. Many of these, like Bertie himself, the children of Irish Republican Army and other activists of the period, had a sense of duty and mission. They also have a sense of decency, duty and moral outlook not shared by the ruling party elites.

    Any of these people that I have met in the last three months are when ‘ talking among ourselves’ i.e. openly in the larger Republican Family, are angered, outraged and betrayed. To quote one…… “ Oh I will be out all right and going through the motions but you will not find me breaking my arse the next election….!”

    Bertie was not the first Fianna Failed big beastie to go….. neither will he be the last !

    Bertie may be lucky in that if the GFA succeedes and evolves into a genuine peace process ( the jury is still out on that one and will be for quite some time yet ) with all that entails, his participation in the GFA alone may shine his star through the dark night of history.

    Dempsy and Dermot Ahern are still in politics but they already must know that they have made even less of a reputational impact than than Cooney and Donegan and that they are already discarded on the nonentity scrap heap of history ! That too may yet be Bertie’s fate.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bertie could ‘walk on water’ in that constituency : not any more he could not even walk down the road for a pint without being accosted and berated about the economy and the mess that he in particular and Fianna Failed in general have made of the economy and everything else.

    I very much doubt that this is true, unless Drumcondra’s population was recently wiped out by the plague and replaced. Bertie’s success, together with that of FF is similar to that of the DUP and SF here in NI – the local relationship with constituents is key. If that is in place and is sound/secure, it provides an almost unshakeable base.

    The Fianna Fail machine has existed for many decades. It’s far too early to say that FF are dead yet.

  • Driftwood

    All political figures try to outrun the past, but their legacy is embedded in pastiche, Robbie Coltrane as ‘Mason Boyne’-

    This is how the average mainlander sees the DUP, and Southerners pretty much the same, but i imagine they have selective recall with who they voted for not so very long ago.