Four-part biography on Bertie Ahern begins on November 3rd on RTÉ


A NEW four-part biography series on former taoiseach Bertie Ahern begins next month on RTÉ.

Programme makers Mint Productions, the company behind the 2005 Haughey series, said Bertie- the first episode of which will broadcast on November 3rd - is an attempt to reveal what drove Mr Ahern during over three decades in the public eye.

While it features contributions from more than 70 people, including family members and politicians from across the spectrum, central to the programme is a lengthy interview with Mr Ahern, conducted just weeks after he resigned last May as taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil.

The opening episode, to be broadcast on Monday, traces Mr Ahern's life up to the general election of 1989, detailing his years as an accounts clerk in the Mater hospital and his fledgling political career, during which he won a Dáil seat in 1977 at the first attempt.

The programme outlines how he built a formidable constituency machine during this period and forged a close bond with Charles Haughey while serving as Fianna Fáil chief whip.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan says of Mr Ahern during the documentary: "He is a man who is utterly consumed by politics and by the exercise of power and he has devoted much of his life to that exercise."

Bertiefeatures an interview with Tony Blair and contributions from former Cabinet colleagues Charlie McCreevy, Mary Harney, Willie O'Dea and Mary O'Rourke; and a number of commentators. Miriam Ahern and the Aherns' daughters Cecelia and Georgina are also interviewed.

The series includes interviews with Des Richardson, Joe Burke, Barry English, David McKenna, Chris Wall, Paddy Duffy, and Royston Brady.

Commissioning editor for RTÉ Factual Kevin Dawson said the series is "an honest and independent political biography".