Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Recent Irish Taoisigh, like current US Presidents, have sometimes struggled to convey their exact meaning to the wider world. Bertie Ahern has inspired a long list Bertieisms, giving George W Bush a run for his money when it comes to malapropisms, spoonerisms, fudges, and mumbles.

A couple of classic Bertie-isms:
"We're not going to go upsetting the apple tart."

And his comments about the risks of rising inflation:
"The reason it's on the rise is because probably the boom times are getting even more boomer."

Another classic Bertiesm, once used by him in the Dáil:
"Throwing white elephants and red herrings at each other".

Or in response to Trevor Sargent's attack on corrupt developers and politicians:
"I never condemn wrongdoing in any area."

Last week, the Bert did an interview with Eamon Keane on his lunchtime Newstalk show that combined some of the best Bertieisms into one great chunky paragraph that combines ambivalence, opacity and 100% guaranteed home-made Bertie fudge.
It also includes one of his favourite phrases: "All is I am saying is..."
Check out his use of the word horrendously to describe both negative AND positive aspects of Charles Haughey. Brilliant. That's part of the Bert's great appeal (and I mean that, seriously). His language is like fog. Once he starts talking, the mists start coming in and soon you find yourself hopelessly lost.

"I’ve been very critical. At the 1997 Ard Fheis hairs stood at the back of heads about the things I said about Charlie Haughey.
You don’t just condemn for condemning sake. The fact is Charles Haughey did horrendously things wrong around these financial dealings but he did horrendously things right.
All is as I am saying is, I was brought up not to throw the baby out with the bath water."

A little later...

"I condemned Ray Burke, Liam Lawlor, more people than I wish that I ever had to condemn. Do you think I enjoyed it one of these days? Revisionism is a huge part of Enda Kenny, his rhetoric…..some times I condemn myself that I should have been signing blank cheques.I thought these practices were all been dealt with by the staff at the time."

Here it is in his own words (sound quality is not great and a little bit in the middle is missing!)


Peter Casey said...

Bertie once said he was the Telethon Taoiseach. He was supposed to call himself Teflon.
Albert was almost as bad. He called John Bruton 'John Unionist'.

Dan Sullivan said...

"I thought these practices were all been dealt with by the staff at the time."

That's the Tony Killeen defence he is using there I take it.

Harry McGee said...

Apologies are not Bertie's strongest suit.
Absolutely no apology for BertieBlank. You will notice that the Taoiseach very seldom believes he is wrong. Didn't apologise over BertieGate, not even grudgingly. And openly defiant over the BertieBowl debacle(all his controversies are named after him). Criticises the Lansdowne Road project at every opportuniyt.

Mark Waters said...

And then there's this classic from Bert:

"Deputy Kenny and I have been Members of the House for long enough to know that there is a code of ethics whereby those who have been elected to the House try to remain elected. That is the code of ethics in this House."

No fudging and no apologies there. Plain speaking and telling it like it is.

Anonymous said...

the best one from the Bert has to be his reference in the Dail to the fact that amongst other places he did not ha bank accounts was in the "Dutch Anthills"..........or his reference to the "roadcrash" to peace in the middle East