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'God knows what will happen': Bertie's cryptic answer on if he'll run for president

Rejoining Fianna Fáil would be the first hurdle an Ahern candidacy would have to overcome.

File Photo The chair of the Fianna Fail Dublin Central constituency organisation has said it will be up to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern whether or not he wants to rejoin the party.Ê Brian Mahon said a motion had been passed this evening after a long disc Source: Laura Hutton/Rollingnews.ie

FORMER TAOISEACH BERTIE Ahern has not ruled out launching a campaign to run for the presidency of Ireland next year.

In an interview with Sky News that primarily concerned Brexit and its impact, Ahern was asked at the end if he was considering running for President next year.

After a brief, but noticeable, pause the former Fianna Fáil leader responded: “God knows what will happen next year.”

Tweet by @Darren McCaffrey Source: Darren McCaffrey/Twitter

In the event of an Ahern candidacy, it is likely he would be running against current President Michael D Higgins.

While running for President in 2011, Higgins said he would only serve one term. However, in recent months, he has hinted he may seek a second term.

According to recent polling data, most people would like to see Higgins serve a second term.

In terms of other former Taoisigh who may have presidential ambitions, Enda Kenny ruled out any possibility of running next year during a speech in Galway yesterday.

The Irish Examiner reported that Kenny pledged his support for President Higgins. “It is a matter that is entirely for the president,” he said.

Becoming Fianna Fáil’s candidate for the presidency would not be an easy task for Ahern.

Speaking at the party’s Ard Fheis earlier this month, current leader Micheál Martin ruled out a return to the fold by Ahern.

The former taoiseach’s old cumann wants him to be given a distinguished services award by the party he led into government three times.

Martin called the letter issued by the cumann “a mischievous letter”, stating that those awards are for grassroots volunteers only.

He said they are for people who have given their service “loyally” to the party.

“Those of us, including Bertie, who have had the honour of serving the party in high office, that is our award. It is a great privilege to serve in office,” he added.

Last year, Martin made it clear that he did not anticipate Ahern coming back as a party member, despite reports Ahern had said he would be willing to rejoin if his local organisation approved.

At the time, Martin said his views had not changed since he moved to expel Ahern from the party following the report of the Mahon Tribunal. Ahern resigned in 2012.

With reporting from Christina Finn

Read: Micheál Martin says he hasn’t changed his mind about Bertie Ahern rejoining Fianna Fáil

Read: Bertie Ahern: Ireland leaving the EU would be an ‘act of insanity’

About the author:

Sean Murray

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