Ahern tells of presidential ambitions


FORMER TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has indicated he remains interested in running for the position of President at some stage.

Mr Ahern answered “Yeah” when asked if he would like the job during an interview on RTÉ Radio One’s John Murray Show yesterday, although he said the issue did not arise at this time.

“I talked to nobody about it and I’m not likely to do so in the short term,” he said.

President Mary McAleese had his “loyal support”, he added.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen had a tough job and was “doing his very best” and “working to the very best of his ability”, Mr Ahern said.

He indicated he would like to be back in his former position to attempt to tackle the economic crisis.

“We have to depend on the Government trying to dig us through this rough period. Quite frankly, I’d have loved to have been there to do it because I spent all my life working at it,” he said.

While Mr Ahern said he accepted his share of blame for current economic problems, he said: “The reality is I left this country in a state where we had low national debt, where we’d full employment, where we’d low taxes and I didn’t foresee Lehman’s coming down and the rules changing”.

He said former British prime minister Tony Blair and himself would both have liked to have spent another year in their previous positions.

Mr Ahern said it was a shame that plans to build the “Bertie Bowl” stadium did not proceed.