So here's the faces of Christmas past and Christmas present. Bertie Ahern finally called it a day yesterday. I had done the Late Night Live programme on Newstalk the night before which proved to be great fun and a lively debate. Unfortunately it's not podcasted on the Newstalk site. Presenter Declan Carthy opened by telling the nation that Bertie had won another major victory in the highcourt in oreventing the Mahon Tribunal from accessing some of the information about his finances. Having criticised Burke and Haughey previously for impeding and delaying the workings of previous tribunals, he had resorted to the same tactics himself and seemed to have succeeded. Declan's question though was simple. "Why is he doing this-what does he have to hide??"
Looks like Bertie copped this also in the last few days, and finally decided to do the right thing. I called publicly last September for the Taoiseach to resign, as I felt he was not being upfront with us as voters. In fact, I think Ahern got away with murder from the day he did his 'Cry me a river' routing with Brian Dobson on RTÉ television. I don't know what Dodson is like, but I do know that if Olivia O' Leary had conducted that interview, Ahern would hardly have survived till the last election, and we would likely have a different Government by now.
So what's Ahern's legacy? There's no doubt that he did a lot of good, particularly the cmpletion of the Good Friday Agreement negotiations ten years ago. He also presided over a Government in very fortunate economic circumstances. Pointing out that Ruairi Quinn left McCreevy and Ahern the first budget surplus for almost two decades is not taken well by FF's experts on thier 'Economic miracle'. The hard question though is what hos Government chose to do with such riches. The legacy of the self-proclaimed socilaist however has been one of extraordinary wasted opportunity, a growing divide between rich and poor, a third world health system, and now a floundering economy.
There's no doubt he was likeable, and worked hard at projecting the ordinary man image. I for one think he has been a poor Taoiseach, and that history will treat him a lot less kindly than the rose-tinted glasses of the past twenty four hours. Slán abhaile Bertie-bain taitneamh as an ciúnas.