Bertie for News of the World

So Ireland’s former taoiseach Bertie Ahern is to take up the offer of guest sports columnist at the News of the World. Is it a case of the Aussie-born media magnate, Rupert Murdoch, once dubbed the Dirty Digger, giving an old mate a dig out?
Not surprisingly, letter writers to The Irish Times have commented on Ahern’s move. Rory O’Toole from Naas, Co Kildare, wrote: “Former US president Bill Clinton travels to North Korea, securing the release of two jailed journalists and, possibly, paving a path for renewed negotiations with Pyongyang on nuclear missiles. Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern signs up to be a sports columnist for the News of the World. Hmm.”
Louis Hogan, from Harbour View in Wicklow, addressed Madam Editor with these thoughts:”Our bankers and property developers have shown themselves to be little more than a crowd of spivs, our politicians are perceived to be incompetent and not in control and now our ‘sports mad’ former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, on a Dail salary and pension of over €150,000 a year (and a Merc and driver for life) is writing a sports column for a British tabloid newspaper. Each day the news becomes a little more bizarre. I’m starting to read The Irish Times through my fingers.”
So be it. For anyone wishing to read Ahern’s column, they may well have to pay for the privilege as Murdoch vows to charge for access to all online content on News Corporation sites. He said as much when News Corp reported revenues of $30 billion for the year.
In an interview with Claire Byrne on the Breakfast show on Newstalk 106-108 fm, Ahern said when he left office last year Ireland was a “long way” better than it was when he first got involved in politics.
He denied that his legacy had been ruined by the country’s current economic situation and he remarked that Ireland had nothing to do with the Lehman Brothers collapse, which had changed world order.

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