BERTIE Ahern, in his decrepit has-been “I was part of the Good Friday Agreement y’know” act, decided to intervene on the matter of legacy. His view is that a potential interstate case on the Legacy Bill by the Irish Government would be "a mistake”.
Why would the disgraced former Taoiseach feel he needed to say anything? Why would he say it at the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of Liam Lynch? Well, one can only speculate that he wanted to look relevant in his transparent and desperate intention to run for the Irish presidency. So in his interview he spoke some guff about the interstate case being a bad idea because – wait for it – it would be bad for Anglo-Irish relations in the context of the Good Friday Agreement.
Rip Van Ahern was clearly asleep for the past ten years. You would be too if you had had to leave the public stage following the ignominy when a public inquiry into your financial affairs, where you had received hundreds of thousands of euros in irregular payments, determined that you had lied. During those years of self-imposed exile Ahern has sporadically reappeared “for one night only” to give warm anecdotes of those days in the Assembly Buildings. His self-indulgent parachute appearances have occurred while he has missed the British Government assaulting the Good Friday Agreement with their hardest Brexit possible, confidence and supply arrangements with the DUP and the introduction of the Legacy Bill itself, which tears the very spine of human rights out of the peace agreement.
Bertie Ahern is consummate at playing the thick while being, in his mentor Charles Haughey’s words, “the cutest hoor of them all”. I am therefore led to the place of again wondering what is going on? Is he a stalking horse for the Legacy Bill institutions?
Bertie Ahern is a self-indulgent meddler. He uses the GFA to try to re-insert his "relevance" as he tries to angle for the Irish Presidency, yet in this ignores the deliberate assaults on the GFA by the British Gov with Brexit and the Legacy Bill. https://t.co/WfYIrbBsEr— Andrée Murphy (@andreemurphy) September 11, 2023
I doubt very much Merrion Street is interested in sending mixed messages at the minute. It has been steadfast since the introduction of the Bill and has charged its Attorney General to scope the potential of taking the British Government to the European Court of Human Rights via an inter-state case, which would be more expeditious than any of the cases which families will undoubtedly be forced to take. All indications are that Irish America would support such a move by the Irish Government.
The only beneficiaries of Bertie Ahern’s intervention are those who reside in Westminster and British army barracks around the world. A strange interest to defend for a man who winks when asked if he wishes to be the elected person to defend the Irish Constitution and Irish citizenry in Áras an Uachtarán.
Which leads me to the next place of thought. The next election for Irish President takes place in 2025. Sadly, the promised referendum giving non-state resident Irish citizens voting rights will not happen in time for that election. This administration has not fulfilled that commitment to Irish citizens living in the northern part of this island. However, that does not mean that we cannot have our say if our peace agreement and our interests are to be played like a violin of convenience in the run-up to and during the campaign.