Ahern vows to stay on as Taoiseach

Bertie Ahern insisted today he will still be Taoiseach when Northern Ireland parties take part in efforts to revive devolution in the autumn.

Bertie Ahern insisted today he will still be Taoiseach when Northern Ireland parties take part in efforts to revive devolution in the autumn.

The Taoiseach moved to quell speculation about him becoming the European Commission’s president during a press conference to mark the end of a day of talks with the Northern Ireland parties in London’s Lancaster House.

Asked if he would be participating in those talks during a press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr Ahern declared emphatically: “I will be working as Taoiseach in September.”

The Taoiseach was preparing to return to Ireland tonight in preparation for the summit of EU leaders in Co Clare and the controversial visit of US President George W Bush.

European Union leaders have so far failed to agree who should replace Romano Prodi as European Commission president.

However it was believed Mr Ahern’s successful steering through of proposals for a European Constitution during the Irish presidency of the EU had boosted his chances of securing the job.

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