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Monday 24 July 2017

Ahern invites pals for drinks as speculation mounts about return

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern hosted Christmas drinks
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern hosted Christmas drinks

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has hosted a gathering of his key supporters, as speculation continues to mount surrounding his potential return to politics.

Mr Ahern invited over a dozen colleagues to attend a Christmas drinks event in Drumcondra last Thursday, during which the recent speculation surrounding his possible comeback was discussed.

However, Mr Ahern has yet to respond to an invitation by the Fianna Fail cumann in Dublin Central to rejoin the party fold.

Sources say Mr Ahern has yet to rule out formally applying to rejoin the party and will consider the issue further over the Christmas break.

It is understood the chairman of the cumann, local Fianna Fail activist Brian Mohan, has been contacted by a number of members in favour of Mr Ahern's return.

Unlikely

Sources emphasised that the intervention by Micheal Martin earlier this month means that Mr Ahern's return to the party is unlikely in the short term.

In an interview on Tipp FM, Mr Martin said he does not "anticipate" Mr Ahern becoming a member of the party again.

He said the issues stemming from the Mahon Tribunal report, which made adverse findings against Mr Ahern, still remain.

"Nothing has changed since four years ago. I don't anticipate Bertie Ahern coming back into the party and I don't see any prospect of that," Mr Martin said.

"He is out and about talking about issues and that is good that he can bring his experience to bear in terms of the general issues like Brexit or the American elections, but times have moved on in Dublin, politics has moved on within Dublin."

Senior Fianna Fail sources insisted the party has moved on from the Ahern era and that any return to politics would prove unhelpful.

Nonetheless, Mr Ahern has insisted that he has no desire to take up anything other than a local role in the organisation.

"What they're talking about is rejoining the local cumann and helping out, that's all," he said.

"People were stopping me and saying 'delighted you're coming back as a TD'. I've no intention of coming back as a TD.

"All the local organisation said was they're inviting me back to join the local cumann to help out.

"I've worked with them and canvassed with them for 40 years," Mr Ahern added.

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