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Bertie Ahern is feeling good about Fianna Fáil's general election chances

He thinks Micheál Martin could be the next Taoiseach.

FORMER TAOISEACH BERTIE Ahern thinks the next election could see Fianna Fáil winning up to sixty seats and making Micheál Martin Taoiseach.

Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, Ahern said he thinks Finance Minister Michael Noonan has done a “good sound job” on the country’s finances but that the time is coming for a return of Fianna Fáil to power.

Micheál Martin was first appointed to Cabinet by new Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 1997. Ahern was today asked whether Martin will lead the party into the next election.

“He will and he should and I think he has a very good chance of doing very well and being Taoiseach, which probably people said a few years ago wouldn’t happen,” Ahern said.

“I think they can get themselves not in the grounds of an overall majority but I think they can get themselves maybe into the grounds of 60 seats,” Ahern added of Fianna Fáil’s overall chances.

The three-time Fianna Fáil Taoiseach said that he thinks the party were right to enter into a Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fine Gael.

“There were two options, to make an agreement or have another election and I think they were right to do an agreement. And I think it will last a few years, I suspect,” he said.

Asked about the current public sector pay problems, Ahern rejected the suggestion that it goes back to the benchmarking process he presided over as Taoiseach.

“The fact is that public servants have gone through a lot, they’ve gone through eight hard years, I don’t think anyone disputes that, and they’re now in a position where they’re a long way behind,” Ahern said.

There are a number of these problems that are there, they have to be resolved and I wish the ministers well in those negotiations because they’re not easy.

Ahern also said that he thinks another social partnership model needs to be updated to involved more groups and productivity goals.

“Time moves on, things change, the processes change but we do need something, ministers can’t deal with every dispute that comes up or they’d get nothing else done,” Ahern said.

Ahern also said that he personally wasn’t opposed to water charges but understood that people may have had difficulty affording another charge.

“Based on its environmental grounds, I wasn’t opposed to it,” he said.

Read: Bertie Ahern-brokered peace deal ends long-running handball dispute >

Read: Bertie Ahern says Brexit would be “negative in every way” >

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