The Book of Bert

13 great Bertieisms at the banking inquiry

Bertie Ahern may have upset the apple tart with some of his comments this week.


WHEN HE WAS Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was famous for mangling the English language with his muddled metaphors and plainspeak.

It was one of the things that voters liked about him and it no doubt contributed to his ‘ordinary fella who done good’ image that ensured he was one of the most successful taoisigh (electorally at least) that this country has ever seen.

Some of his best ‘Bertieisms’ include “the boom times are getting even boomer”,  a remark made in 2006 that became infamous in light of what was to transpire with the Irish economy.

Then there was those people who were trying to “upset the apple tart”. We think he meant ‘apple cart’.

Don’t forget this humdinger from back in the mid-nineties:

I don’t think it helps people to start throwing white elephants and red herrings at each other.

16/7/2015. Bertie Ahern leavess Banking Inquiry to Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

Ahern didn’t disappoint us when he appeared before the banking inquiry this week with plenty of Bertieisms to keep us entertained during a long hearing.

Here are some of our favourites:

1. On hindsight and not spending as much as he did: 

If you ask me what my view now is, it … I probably would have battened down the hatches in 1997 and said no to everything

2. On being ‘Minister for lots of things’: 

… from the time I was Lord Mayor of this city of Dublin and through being Minister for lots of things, but particularly Labour and Finance, I spent my time giving a positive message about this country

3. On glasses being half full: 

And, as you know, Deputy, in this country, an awful lot of people, even when the glass is full, want it to be half empty.


4. On hindsight (again):

Like if hindsight was foresight, you know, I’d be a billionaire and so would you.

5. On the Germans breaking fiscal rules: 

A few years later Germany were way over the line, way over the line. And I had the Chancellor come down to say to me, “Keep your mouth shut, Bertie.” Come on, so don’t give me that.

6. On the opposition parties: 

The opposition collectively, every day I went in, I still hear it in my ears, you know, spend more on this, that and the other.

7. On former Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker:

Germany G-7 Summit Markus Schreiber Markus Schreiber

I had been Minister for Labour with him, Minister for Finance with him and Taoiseach and Prime Minister with him. So I would have been, you know, personally very, very friendly with these people.I think it would have been able to put a bit of leaning on them.

8. On warnings about Ireland’s banks: 

I didn’t know anything about any of that if I did of … if I did of, I would have lashed it out in the Dáil some day or some speech when I was down in Treasury or somewhere.

9. On the ECB’s foot and boot:

When the European Central Bank were formed, they very early put down their foot and boot that they were independent and that they were going to hold this strong position into the future.


10. On teachers and nurses:

It’s always the example when the teacher was marrying the nurse, you know, or maybe the nurse marrying the teacher but – politically correct – but it, it was that they couldn’t afford a house, even taking their salaries in.

11. On tax designated areas and the IRA breaking a ceasefire in 1993:

Then it moved to the dockland in England, the Isle of Dogs and all these places. Now they’re very … very expensive parts of Canary Wharf, isn’t it, where the troubles were?

12. On his brother Noel Ahern:

Tony Ketts Funeral Scenes Sasko Lazarov / Sasko Lazarov / /

But the Minister of housing – it happened to be my brother at that stage – felt very strongly that this was a disaster.

13. On the Galway Tent:

Well, it usually rained in Galway race week so at least you had a tent to stay dry.

Read: 9 things we learned from Bertie at the banking inquiry

Bertie: If hindsight was foresight, I’d be a billionaire

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