Bertie Ahern willing to appear before banking inquiry

Former FF taoiseach does not expect party to be in government after next election

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern  has said he would be willing to appear before the Oireachtas banking inquiry but warned that the process would lose “any kind of relevance” if it were allowed to drag on.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he would be willing to appear before the Oireachtas banking inquiry but warned that the process would lose “any kind of relevance” if it were allowed to drag on. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he would be willing to appear before the Oireachtas banking inquiry but warned that the process would lose “any kind of relevance” if it were allowed to drag on.

Mr Ahern, in an interview with UTV Ireland on Friday night, also said he believed Fianna Fáil would remain in opposition in the next Dáil but that the party would gradually return to power.

He said he would willingly go before the Oireachtas inquiry into the collapse of the Irish banking sector “if I’m asked”.

“I don’t think [it’s biased]. I think they have a job to do and the sooner they do it the better before it becomes part of history,” he said.

“These things happened in 2007, 2008 so I think they have a job to do and if they can just get on with it hopefully it will be of some benefit for the future.

“We should be able to do [it] like other countries: to have it over. If it’s not finished by the autumn then I think it just loses any kind of relevance.”

Coalition

Much has been made about Fianna Fail’s political future, most recently when Fine Gael’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney appeared to suggest the potential for a coalition between the country’s two main parties.

However, any such notion was dismissed by Mr Ahern, who said he had no idea when Ireland might see a thaw in civil war politics.

“I presume Fianna Fáil will be in opposition; will be the main opposition after the next election.

I think that’s the role they’d be in and that’s the role I’d like to see them in,” he said.

Regarding the possibility of his former cabinet minister Micheál Martin becoming taoiseach, he said it would depend on how long it takes the party to climb back into power, but that there would be a comeback.

Fianna Fáil

“I don’t know when. I think they will take their time but they will. I mean they will come back again,” he said.

“It’s going to have to be incrementally.

“It’s not going to be in one election but they will come back, the party will grow – I hope I live to see it.”