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Bertie: Bank crisis was the reason I went grey in just six months

The former taoiseach spoke to school pupils in Wales yesterday.

Bertie Ahern pictured last year.
Bertie Ahern pictured last year.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FORMER TAOISEACH BERTIE Ahern has joked that the banking crisis was the reason he went grey in just six months.

Ahern made the comments on a visit to a school in Wales yesterday where he spoke about his life and achievements in politics.

The ex-Fianna Fail leader, who resigned in 2008, is in the UK as part of the InterAction Council conference taking place at Celtic Manor this week.

But Ahern also paid a visit to Risca Community Comprehensive School in Newport yesterday with the local newspaper, the South Wales Argus, reporting that he gave advice to students and told them the “sky is the limit”.

According to the paper, he told students: “Politics is everything. People think that politics is to do with Parliament but there’s politics in your schools, in your parents’ workplace, in the bus and train companies.

I realised when I was about 16 that we were not going to get a new pitch, a new dressing room unless I got involved in politics.

Ahern citied the peace agreement in Northern Ireland as his greatest achievement in politics, saying there was “nothing more important than that”.

But he said the hardest thing he had to tackle was the banking crisis and joked that it was the reason he went grey in just six months.

Ahern left office in May 2008, some months before the crisis firmly took hold and his successor Brian Cowen issued a blanket guarantee of the banking system in September 2008.

Ahern is expected to appear before the banking inquiry in late July to give evidence about the economic and banking policy pursued by his government during his 11 years as taoiseach.

Hat tip: Suzy Byrne 

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Hugh O'Connell

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