Bertie Ahern

11th Taoiseach of Ireland from 1997 to 2008

Bartholomew Patrick "Bertie" Ahern (born 12 September 1951) is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician who served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1994 to 2008, Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997, Tánaiste and Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from November 1994 to December 1994, Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1992 to 1994, Minister for Industry and Commerce in January 1993, Minister for Finance from 1991 to 1994, Minister for Labour from 1987 to 1991, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Defence from March 1982 to December 1982 and Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1986 to 1987. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1977 to 2011.

Bertie Ahern

Ahern is the second longest-serving Taoiseach after Éamon de Valera, and presided over three coalition governments. He was initially popular for the high economic growth during his tenure and his success negotiating the Good Friday Agreement establishing power-sharing in Northern Ireland. However, his support declined after the Great Recession severely impacted Ireland when the subprime mortgage crisis burst the Irish property bubble. He resigned in favor of Brian Cowen after the Mahon Tribunal began investigating him for corruption.


  • The reason it's on the rise is because probably the boom times are getting even more boomer.
    • commenting on rising inflation in the Irish economy. [1]The Irish Times newspaper article, 14 July, 2006.
  • "I don't know how people who engage in that don't commit suicide"
    • commenting on people "talking the economy down", just before the crash. Speech at Irish Congress of Trade Unions conference [2] 2007-07-3.
  • Time magazine reported him as speaking of "upsetting the apple tart".
  • I never condemn wrongdoing in any area
    • 22 February, 2006 in the Dáil (Ahern corrected his slip, above, TO "condone" during the same statement.) Leaders' Questions Oireachtas Debates 2006-02-22.
  • I have always found him to be a proud, honourable man, loyal, true, persevering, principled, caring and committed but tough and a person who lost friends easily. On behalf of the Government but in particular on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, I thank him for his distinguished years of service to his constituents and his country.
  • The public are entitled to have an absolute guarantee of the financial probity and integrity of their elected representatives, their officials and above all of Ministers. They need to know that they are under financial obligations to nobody.
  • It is quite unacceptable that a member of Dáil Éireann and in particular a Cabinet Minister and Taoiseach, should be supported in his personal lifestyle by gifts made to him personally.
  • I continued the arrangement, so whatever was on my mind, and the reason I probably can't give you a better reflection of what I was doing on the 19th of January is because I didn't do it. I am sure there are some mornings you get up and you think I might do this or I might do that and then you don't do them so, its hard to remember.
  • Some people dye their hair yellow or put rings in their noses
    • Explaining to the Mahon Tribunal on 20 December 2007 why he did not have a bank account in 1993. Planning Tribunal Transcript 2007-12-20.
  • It was a political donation for my personal use.
    • 21 February 2008 at the Mahon Tribunal, referring to a £5,000 donation. Irish Times report 2008-02-21. (Subscription required)
  • That decision will in history be written as the biggest mistake that American administration ever made, because Lehmans was a world investment bank. They had testicles everywhere.
  • It took Ireland thirty years to become an overnight success.


Quotes About Ahern

  • Did Ahern, in his 11 years of power, make the most of this unprecedented prosperity for the public benefit? The answer can hardly be positive, given the present state of health, education and infrastructure, generally.
  • We can spit on Bertie Ahern till our mouths run dry, but he didn’t invent the amorality of our public culture. He was never a large enough figure to be able to shape the way Irish society thinks and feels. He was just an artful dodger, a skilled exploiter of the opportunities created by widespread tolerance for ingratiating chancers.
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: