Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern refuses to comment on potential presidential bid

Speaking about his return to Irish politics, Mr Ahern believes he can help Fiann Fáil win back seats

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern refuses to comment on potential presidential bid

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Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he "still has a contribution to make" as he returns to irish politics.

Mr Ahern said his contribution will be limited to within his local constituency Dublin Central, stressing to The Sunday Independent that he will be playing a "very, very minor role".

"All I'm being asked to do is to play a local role. Helping locally in an area I know inside out and back to front", he said. "But if the perception is that it is something else then that's a problem."

Earlier in the week, members of the Dublin central branch had planned to write a letter to the former Taoiseach to formally ask him to rejoin Fianna Fáil. But Mr Ahern says current leader Michael Martin put a halt to this plan.

"I never got the letter because he [Michael] stopped it ... My only interest, my only interested would be to see my old constituency win seats."

Mr Martin issued a strong statement on Thursday, saying Mr Ahern would not be re-entering the party's fold.

“Nothing has changed since four years ago", he said. "I don’t anticipate Bertie Ahern coming back into the party and I don’t see any prospect of that."

However, the former Taoiseach disagreed with these sentiments, saying he believes circumstances have changed "a lot".

On The Sunday Show, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen said he has a right to make an application to rejoin the party "no more than anybody else".

President Bertie Ahern?

While Mr Ahern refused to rule out a race to the Arás, he said it was "disrespectful" to discuss the presidency while President Michael D Higgins was still in office.

"He [Michael D Higgins] is an excellent president. And he'll probably stay on for another nine years ... And in another nine years I will be too old," he told The Sunday Independent.

Mr Ahern was Ireland's second-longest serving Taoiseach.