Almost three out of four people in the country are opposed to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern making a political comeback.
A poll conducted just days after Mr Ahern’s former local constituency branch “unanimously” backed his return to the party fold has said the public do not want the former Fianna Fáil leader to return.
Earlier this month, Fianna Fáil’s Dublin Central branch voted in favour of asking Mr Ahern to rejoin the party, a decision which was made without the knowledge or consent of current leader Micheál Martin.
While the decision to make the offer, to which Mr Ahern has yet to respond, was officially due to the fact that local party members are concerned about the party’s standing in Dublin Central, it is believed creating an opportunity for a future presidential bid by Mr Ahern was also a factor.
However, while the situation led to a political storm as Mr Martin made it publicly clear he would not back Mr Ahern’s return due to the Mahon Tribunal findings, it appears any comeback will not be publicly supported.
Asked by the Amárach research agency on behalf of RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live programme if they would be in favour of Mr Ahern returning to politics, 73% of respondents said they would not back the move.
In a poll of 1,000 people, 19% of people said they would be in favour of Mr Ahern’s return, while 8% said they have no opinion.
Mr Ahern resigned from Fianna Fáil in March 2012 following the publication of the Mahon Tribunal, which while not making any corruption finding against him concluded he repeatedly gave false and misleading information to the inquiry.
The resignation was effectively forced by Mr Martin who released a detailed statement at the time saying his former cabinet colleague’s actions were “unbecoming” of a party member and that he would seek his expulsion. Asked about the Dublin Central offer last week, Mr Ahern said he would be interested in rejoining Fianna Fáil, but claimed this is only because he wants to help the party win more seats locally.
If Mr Ahern were to rejoin, he would have to submit an application where it would likely be dealt with at national executive level. Speaking on Tipp FM about the controversy last week, Mr Martin said Mr Ahern has “effectively retired from politics”.
“Nothing has changed from four years ago, I don’t anticipate Bertie Ahern coming back into the party,” he said.
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