Bertie Ahern

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Patrick Bartholemew Ahern (better known as Bertie Ahern) was the longest serving Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in the history of Ireland. Ahern served as the tenth Taoiseach from 26 June 1997 until 6th May 2008, when he resigned both as Taoiseach and as President of Fianna Fáil, Ireland's largest political party. He led the 30th Dáil's coalition government of Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, Progressive Democrats and several independent TDs.

Ahern has been a TD (Teachta Dála, or Member of Parliament) since 1977, representing the Dublin Central constituency. He served as Minister for Labour (1987 - 1991) in the government of Charles Haughey, served as Minister for Finance (1991 - 1994) under the government of Albert Reynolds and he also served briefly as acting Tánaiste, or deputy prime minister, after the break-up of Albert Reynolds' coalition government. In 1994 he was elected as the sixth leader of Fianna Fáil.


The Moriarty Tribunal

The Moriarty Tribunal - officially named the "Tribunal of Inquiry into Payments to Politicians and Related Matters" - was established by the Irish Government in 1997 to examine the financial affairs of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and politician Michael Lowry.[1] The tribunal is still ongoing. Its first report was published in December 2006. The report contained strong criticism of Ahern for his practice of signing blank cheques for the then party leader, Haughey.[2]

The Mahon Tribunal

The Mahon Tribunal - officially named the "Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments" - was established by the Irish Government in 1997 to examine land rezoning and planning permission irregularities, particularly in the Dublin area in the 1990s.[3] Ahern has appeared before the tribunal on several occasions, and it has emerged from the tribunal that Ahern was the recipient of significant gifts and loans from many businessmen, which he had not paid tax or interest on. Some of those who had given money to Ahern were subsequently appointed to state boards, though Ahern has insisted that the appointments were due to them being his friends and not because of any gift or loan received.

The allegations against Ahern, contradictions in his testimony, his lack of cooperation with the tribunal and his court challenges to its work have lead to widespread criticism, calls for his resignation, and a vote of no confidence in the Dáil, which he survived. However, the controversies had little effect on his own popularity, as reflected in opinion polls.


On April 2nd, 2008, in a surprise press conference, Ahern strongly maintained his innocence from corruption, but stated that he would resign as Taoiseach and president of Fianna Fáil on 6th May, 2008.[4][5] The opposition parties (Labour, Fine Gael etc.) along with coalition partners the Green Party and Progressive Democrats had been calling for Ahern to more properly explain his financial dealings to the public, and demands for his resignation had been growing among politicians and the media before his announcement.[6][7]

External links


  1. Moriarty Tribunal - Terms of Reference. Available: Accessed: 2nd April, 2008.
  2. Report of the Tribunal, Part 1. Available: Accessed: 2nd April, 2008.
  3. Mahon Tribunal website. Available: Accessed: 2nd April, 2008.
  4. RTÉ News: Taoiseach will leave office on 6 May. Available: Accessed: 2nd April, 2008.
  5. Full text of resignation speech: Available: Accessed: 2nd April, 2008.
  6. Labour asks for Ahern's resignation Accessed: 2nd April 2008.
  7. The Green Party and Progressive Democrats asks Ahern to clarify payments scandal. Accessed: 2nd April 2008.