Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
The News Agents
# Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern continues media blitz with appearance on The News Agents podcast
Bertie Ahern told the podcast that Boris Johnson could not have secured the ‘Windsor Framework’ deal.

FORMER TAOISEACH BERTIE Ahern has appeared on an episode of The News Agents, a British current affairs podcast. 

Ahern appeared on the podcast, hosted by for Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis, along with journalists Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall, to give his thoughts on the ‘Windsor Framework,’ the post-Brexit deal between the UK and EU to address outstanding issues related to trade involving Northern Ireland. 

During his remarks, Ahern noted that the DUP could yet present obstacles to the passing of the Windsor Framework through the Houses of Parliament.

“I’ve no doubt, because I’ve been dealing with unionist negotiators for many years, they will come back with points of clarification, they will come back with points where they want to see what some of the out-workings of some of these issues have been.”

Ahern said we were likely now in for a period of the DUP seeking explanations and clarifications on points within the framework. “There’s no harm in that as long as it doesn’t become a lengthy process,” he said.

Asked whether he thought Boris Johnson would have been able to secure the same deal that incumbent Prime Minister Sunak has agreed with the EU, Ahern said: “I don’t. I think the position that Rishi Sunak took over the past few months has been entirely different to what was going on in the previous few years.”

“There was a sense in the European Union… that the Irish issue was being used to get concessions in other areas. Sunak took a different track, he got into meaningful and substantive discussions early on,” Ahern added.

On the subject of whether or not Brexit has made a unified Ireland more likely, Ahern said: “The reunification issue is straightforward. There will be no constitutional change to the status of Northern Ireland until the people of Northern Ireland vote for that change.”

Ahern has made a spate of media appearances in the last few weeks, launching his own podcast on Newstalk and appearing at a discussion event in the Mansion House to discuss the Good Friday Agreement.

His re-emergence into public life follows his official rejoining of the Fianna Fáil party, and has given rise to speculation that Ahern is considering running for president in 2025. 

Ahern is set to receive an honorary doctorate from Dublin City University at a ceremony tomorrow morning, alongside founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition Professor Monica McWilliams.

DCU will confer a Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) on the former Taoiseach for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process. Similar degrees have previously been awarded to other prominent figures from the peace process, including Seamus Mallon, David Trimble, US Senator George Mitchell, and former US President Bill Clinton.

McWilliams, as founder of the NIWC, was a signatory of the Good Friday Agreement. After serving as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Stormont, McWilliams went on to a role as Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for two terms. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel