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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018

Bertie Ahern cuts interview short after he's asked about Mahon Tribunal

“I’ve dealt with that issue and I am not saying any more about that issue.”

bertie2 Bertie Ahern Source: DWEnglish/YouTube

BERTIE AHERN CUT short a German TV interview after being asked about the Mahon Tribunal.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, the former Taoiseach became uncomfortable when presenter Tim Sebastian asked him about the tribunal.

The interview, on the Conflict Zone programme, first discussed the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and Ahern’s role in negotiations, before it turned to questions about the tribunal.

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Ahern resigned from Fianna Fáil in March 2012 following the publication of the Mahon Tribunal report. He stepped down as Taoiseach in 2008 and as a TD in 2011.

The tribunal found that he did not truthfully account for payments of IR£165,000 made to accounts connected to him. The report did not make findings of corruption against Ahern, but proved hugely damaging to his reputation. He has rejected its findings.

In the interview, Sebastian asked him: “Did you clear your name?” To which Ahern replied: “Yes, I did. I’m quite happy I cleared my name.”

When Sebastian noted that the tribunal “never reversed its decision” and said Ahern “wasn’t truthful”, the former Taoiseach said: “The tribunal gave its views … and I gave my evidence. I was very happy with my evidence.”

As Sebastian pressed him, Ahern said: “I’ve dealt with that issue and I am not saying any more about that issue.”

‘A finance minister without a bank account’

Sebastian referred to Ahern as “a finance minister without a bank account”, to which Ahern said: “I have dealt with all those issues comprehensively, I’m not dealing with them again.”

“You’re somebody who wants to come back, maybe as president. These are issues in the public domain,” Sebastian noted.

Ahern smiled and replied: “That’ll be for another day.”

He then said: “I agreed to meet you on the Good Friday Agreement, we’ve done that so we’re finished. Thank you very much.”

After the interview, Sebastian said the programme had sent a list of topics it wished to discuss during the interview to Ahern’s offices but “they didn’t come back to us”.

“We hope Mr Ahern will come back to us someday and finish the interview, and we wish him well for the future,” he added.

You can watch the full interview below:

Source: DW English/YouTube

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Órla Ryan

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