Bertie Ahern was a major architect of the Northern peace process, a British government minister claimed today.
After Mr Ahern announced that he will step down on May 6 as the Taoiseach and the leader of Fianna Fáil, UK Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward said: “Bertie Ahern will be hugely missed.
“He was a major architect of the peace process. His tireless dedication and commitment to transforming Northern Ireland will never be forgotten. We all owe him a huge debt.”
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair also paid tribute to Mr Ahern for his role in the Northern peace process.
Mr Blair said: “Bertie Ahern was a great Taoiseach, a leader for whom I had the greatest respect, admiration and friendship.
“He will always be remembered for his crucial role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland, for transforming relations between Britain and the Irish Republic and for presiding over a sustained period of economic and social advance in Ireland.
“He was also a key figure in Europe.
“He will have, deservedly, a central place in his nation’s political history and much more widely.
“A remarkable man with a remarkable record of achievement.”