Bertie hopes reborn after maternity hospital visit

ON a day when a born-again coalition renewed vows, it was only appropriate Bertie Ahern should spend some time in a maternity hospital.

During a day-long visit to the Mid-West, he popped into St Munchin’s Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick to congratulate Lorraine Power on the birth of twin sons, Cathal and Diarmuid.

Proud dad is Fianna Fáil TD Peter Power.

You only had to look at Bertie’s minders in Limerick to know he had travelled to the Mid-West prepared for trouble — PD trouble.

Along with his usual retinue of garda minders, he was accompanied by the Government press secretary Mandy Johnson and the Fianna Fáil media boss Olivia Buckley.

Normally, a lone press officer from the Government Information Service accompanies the Taoiseach on whistle-stop visits to the regions.

Michael McDowell had been lying low since Thursday but the Taoiseach knew he had to be on the alert to respond if the Tánaiste decided to request his P45 — and the possibility ofbeing relegated to the back benches.

A few minutes before 1pm, news came through that McDowell had broken his silence and was staying.

Bertie could not have chosen a better place to be when a note was passed to him bearing the glad tidings that the PDs, although not happy bunnies, wanted to toil on.

Mr Ahern had just officially opened a new all-Irish secondary school at Harry’s Mall in Limerick city centre.

Gaelchoaiste Luimnigh has for its motto, Ag Forbairt le Cheile — working together.

The right political motto, also, for the moment that was in it.

Addressing the young students at the gaelcholaiste, the Taoiseach remarked how he was pleased to see the Heineken European Cup won by Munster had been brought along for the occasion.

Politically speaking, he said the cup was “something to win, another to regain it and, in my case, to hold on to it”.

Bertie is of late making a point of calling to more schools than the inspectorate from the Department of Education.

He started his day in Limerick by visiting Meelick National School and had door-stepped four by the end of the day.

Before entering the Moyross community centre, Mr Ahern decided to give a question and answer session for journalists in which he sent out a clear message to Michael McDowell that Fianna Fáil wanted to continue with the existing Government programme.

Two hours later, the response from the PD leader was in the affirmative.

Yes, indeed, the school motto of Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh is appropriate.

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