Category: Archive


February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The circumstances surrounding Ahern’s announcement last week that he would resign from office have complicated what might have been a final month in office tantamount to a lap of honor.
But questions about Ahern’s financial dealings in the 1990s arising from the Mahon Tribunal, and the possibility of more revelations in the days ahead, have injected some uncertainty into Ahern’s last days in office.
So much so that Capitol Hill is maintaining a closer eye than might have been the case on Ahern’s fortunes in the lead up to his scheduled address to a joint session of the House of Representatives and Senate on April 30.
At the same time, warm words also flowed from the Hill after Ahern announced his departure at a news conference last week.
“On the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, we would like to thank him for the role he played in bringing peace to the north of Ireland. That historic accord would not have been possible without his leadership and vision,” Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the Friends of Ireland, said in a statement.
Ahern, too, spoke of the Good Friday accord in his statement of resignation delivered in Dublin’s Government Buildings.
“All levels of Irish society have seen their well being dramatically improved in the period I have served as taoiseach,” Ahern said.
Above all else, his priority had been to work for peace.
“I kept my word and I have given my all to that cause,” Ahern said.
“Through painstaking negotiations, colossal work has been done in laying the foundations of reconciliation and justice between the communities in Northern Ireland. The Good Friday agreement now provides the political framework for an island that can at last achieve its full potential.
“This week and next week, many of those who a decade ago played a role in negotiating that historic accord will gather to reflect on the work which was done and the progress which has since been made.
“In preparing for the events to mark this anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, I’ve obviously reflected back on the road we have traveled from discord to peace, from distrust to partnership and from despair to a new prosperity, north and south,” Ahern said.
In his announcement, Ahern also alluded to his upcoming U.S. visit.
“At the end of this month, I will visit Washington to address the joint houses of Congress. It will be a great privilege to become only the fourth ever visiting statesman to have addressed both Congress and Westminster. For me, this will be one of the proudest moments of my political career,” he said.

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