Ahern signs up to be 'News of the World' sports columnist


FORMER TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern is to become a sports columnist with the Irish edition of the British tabloid News of the Worldfrom next Sunday.

A statement issued on behalf of the newspaper yesterday said that Mr Ahern would be putting aside his loyalty to the Dublin football team and Manchester United, at least temporarily, in his column which would deal with sport at home and abroad.

“It’s no secret that I am sports-mad and this column will give me the chance to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of Irish and international sport,” said Mr Ahern. “Let’s hope I end up writing about Ireland qualifying for the World Cup, winning the Six Nations again and Padraig Harrington lifting a few more Majors,” he added.

Geoff Frazer, editor of the Irish edition of News of the World, said: “Bertie is truly passionate about all sport. I have no doubt he will be a real star in our team. This will be an unmissable read for every sports fan in Ireland.”

Mr Ahern presented an edition of the RTÉ television programme The Road to Croker last summer, after he had stepped down as taoiseach.

Mr Ahern currently has a salary of €106,000 a year as a TD and gets over €50,000 a year on top of that, as half the pension of a former taoiseach. When he retires from the Dáil he will be entitled to draw his full taoiseach’s pension of over €100,000 a year as well as a pension of half a TD’s salary.

Like all other former taoisigh and former presidents, Mr Ahern is also provided by the taxpayer with a State car and driver for life.

A number of books dealing with Bertie Ahern’s period as taoiseach, including his authorised biography by UCD historian Richard Aldous, will be published in the autumn.