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Former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who announced last week that he was retiring from the Dáil, has criticized the Irish government’s handling of the economic crisis.

Ahern told the Irish News of the World that the government should have acted earlier, in the summer, to prevent the need for the bailout, and that Prime Minister Brian Cowen should have been more open with the public.

Ahern’s comments are bound to cause a rift with Cowen, his successor, who was handed a poison chalice of a collapsing economy after Ahern resigned

Declan Ferry, the Deputy News Editor of the paper, said Ahern recalled that when he was Taoiseach (prime minister), "he felt it was important to speak to the people of the country every day, on whatever the issue of the day was" and that when Brian Cowen took over, "he took up a different strategy and spoke to the people a lot less.”

In the article, Ferry said Ahern had not ruled out running for President.

"He did concede that with Fianna Fáil's standing the polls right now, it would be difficult for a Fianna Fáil candidate to be successful," he said, "but…he's still saying that it is something that he would like to do, that he'd like a crack at it, and he'll see how things pan out during the year."