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Talkative Bertie keeps quiet over FF meltdown

HE served as leader of Fianna Fail for 16 years -- and 13 of those were as Taoiseach.

But as his party is decimated, the now retired TD Bertie Ahern is keeping quiet, saying he'll "leave it to the lads".

The Fianna Fail electoral meltdown was nowhere more evident than in Mr Ahern's former constituency of Dublin Central.

In 2007, Mr Ahern, as Taoiseach, polled an impressive first preference vote, topping the poll, and managed to bring in running mate Cyprian Brady.

This year, Fianna Fail was just as toxic to voters in Dublin Central as everywhere else and its two candidates -- Mary Fitzpatrick and Cyprian Brady -- failed to get elected.

Speaking outside his Drumcondra home yesterday morning, the former Taoiseach would not be drawn on his role in the demise of Fianna Fail. "I'm no longer a TD so I'm not making any comment," he said.

However, he admitted that re-building the party will be a "huge job".

When pushed on the matter by the Herald Mr Ahern said: "I don't want to get into it, I'll leave it to the lads now."

cfeehan@herald.ie