Martin dismisses speculation about Ahern presidential bid

Fianna Fáil leader praises former taoiseach’s ‘tireless work for peace’ in Northern Ireland

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern ended an interview with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle after questions of his testimony at the Mahon Tribunal were raised. Video: Deutsche Welle

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has dismissed speculation that former taoiseach Bertie Ahern might run for the presidency as the party’s candidate.

“I don’t think that is on the agenda,’’ he said.

Mr Ahern has said he would consider running for the presidency if President Michael D Higgins does not seek a second term.

Mr Ahern resigned from Fianna Fáil in March 2012, following publication of the Mahon tribunal report which found he had given untrue evidence about the source of €215,000 lodged in bank accounts connected to him.

Mr Martin was speaking to journalists in Arbour Hill, Dublin, on Sunday, after he had praised Mr Ahern’s contribution to the Belfast Agreement in his oration at the annual Fianna Fáil 1916 commemoration.

Mr Martin said the peace process had reached a dramatic high-point 20 years ago this month with the singing of the agreement.

“The agreement built on the tireless work for peace of many people over the years, but there is no doubt it would have been impossible without Bertie Ahern’s leadership as taoiseach,’’ he added.

Mr Martin’s remarks drew a round of applause from those present.

Mr Martin declined to comment on Mr Ahern’s decision to cut short an interview with the German public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, when he was asked about the Mahon tribunal’s findings.

“I am not going to add to that,’’ said Mr Martin.

“As far as I am concerned, he is retired from public life and it is a matter for him, and whoever he is interviewed with, in terms of what happens.’’