Disgraced former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern enjoyed another Good Friday agreement this year – with a vegetable plot.
Just 14 years after he signed the historic Good Friday peace accord in Belfast, Ahern was discovered hard at work in an allotment by the Irish Sun newspaper.
Journalist Paul Williams met the politician, shamed by the recent Mahon Tribunal report for receiving cash payments, at the North County Dublin vegetable plot owned by his daughter Cecilia.
Ahern admitted to the paper: “It is gas to think that this day 14 years ago I was in Belfast for the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Times have changed.
“I just want to get the allotment sorted for them. The hard work is getting it started.
“Sure I suppose I’m always digging. It’s good fun.”
Asking for privacy in regard to his vegetable plot, Ahern admitted to Williams: “I have been harassed on the odd occasion.
“It has happened the odd time down at my house. Compared to the hundreds of people that I meet I have got little or nothing.
“I am only helpin’ the family — it’s their plot and we don’t want it identified.
“You would only get messers coming up and damaging the place on them to get at me.”
Speaking about the Mahon Tribunal and its damning findings, Ahern admitted he is still considering his response and may yet write another book on his lifetime in politics.
He said: “I have tried to give full public interviews on a number of occasions but what I said was then heavily edited.
“One programme was supposed to be a historical piece on Fianna Fail but then it turned out to be a programme about me.
“I spent two and a half hours on an interview with Mike Murphy and they edited it. It is just impossible to get the message across because people do not want to hear it.
“It suits certain people to make me out to be the bad guy and blame me for everything that has happened.
“The Tribunal say I was innocent but guilty. They are a different kettle of fish. They say I am clear but then they say these are the reasons why I am not in the clear. That’s a problem and I want some clarity on that.”
He continued: “Maybe the media and some other political people would prefer that I was constantly under threat but I have always gotten on well with the Irish people.”