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'Give Bertie Ahern a break, he's off doing his gardening'

“If he applies to join Fianna Fáil, I’ll come back to you.”

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

FIANNA FÁIL’S JUSTICE spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan says that the issue of Bertie Ahern rejoining the party cannot be addressed because the former Taoiseach hasn’t applied.

A meeting of the Dublin Central branch this week unanimously agreed to ask Ahern to rejoin the party he led in government for over a decade.

Ahern resigned from the party in March 2012 following the publication of the Mahon tribunal. 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.

However, O’Callaghan told RTÉ Radio One’s Saturday With Claire Byrne that the issue was something of media creation, not something the party was focusing on.

If we’re going to have coverage of motions passed at Fianna Fáil meetings, we’re going to need a separate radio station and a separate TV station.

“In fairness to Bertie Ahern, he has not applied for membership of Fianna Fáil.

“Fortunately I don’t have a decision to make in relation to this. If he does apply, it will be considered by the general secretary.

“I think the leadership will have to be respected on this issue.”

O’Callaghan said that Ahern, who is seen as unlikely to rejoin the party while Micheal Martin is leader, hadn’t sought any attention.

“It is unfair on Bertie Ahern to catapult him back into the limelight like this because he hasn’t applied to join Fianna Fáil.

Give the man a break, he’s off doing his gardening and he’s entitled to do his gardening.

“If he applies to join Fianna Fáil, I’ll come back to you.”

Read: Fianna Fáil branch to ask Bertie Ahern to rejoin party

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