Bertie Ahern is present Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, of Ireland, heading the Irish government since 1997. Ahern is a prominent statesman of European stature with great political acumen and wisdom that has helped him to successfully manage a potentially volatile coalition of multiple parties and many independent candidates. Ahern has an illustrious political career where he served as minister of Labor and Minister of Finance in the governments of Charles Haughey and Albert Reynolds.
Ahern’s electioneering skills and party management capabilities have been universally praised, being a prominent factor in his rise to the highest position in Irish government. Political Baptism Born in 1951, Bertie Ahern was well groomed politically since his younger days due to an intensely political environment at his home . His father had fought in Irish War of Independence and the Civil War and Bertie closely observed the events, gaining crucial understanding of the complexity and challenges of Irish political system.
Although professionally Ahern took the job of accountant, but his political inclination was evidently manifest when he joined Fianna Fail in 1968, at a young age of 17 . In the campaign for Fianna Fail in 1969 general elections, Ahern was spotted by senior party leader Charles Hughey, who was much impressed by the youngster’s electioneering abilities, political maneuvers, capacity of resource management and brilliance for political logistics .
The first creditable evidence of Ahern’s electioneering brilliance was registered in his own landslide win in 1977 in his very first effort for elected office. His party had also scored a large win in the Irish parliament and although young and inexperienced by age, Ahern developed a close association with Hughey, who had become a stalwart of politician and one of the strongest competitors for the post of Prime Minister. Ahern was recognized for his talents by being appointed as Assistant-Government Chief Whip.
The tumultuous political conditions of Ireland saw it facing election both in the year 1981 and 1982. Ahern was successful in increasing his own victory margin each time, while his canvassing for the party, his handling of party-men and his abilities in mobilizing them did not fail to impress senior party leaders. Fianna Fail lost the elections of 1982 and had to sit in opposition till 1987, a time that saw Ahern’s increasing influence and growth as a seasoned party man and political leader . Ahern was appointed party’s spokesperson and got elected as Mayor of Dublin.
In 1987 Ahern’s electioneering abilities were once again on display when he campaigned along with Hughey, Reynolds, and MacSharry and Fianna Fail returned to power. Ahern worked closely in developing the party manifesto that would appeal to largest number of electorates. Eventually Charles Hughey became Taoiseach and Ahern was given the cabinet post for labor . His negotiation skills coruscated in this capacity as well when he became instrumental in introducing various trade related reforms, collaborating with trade unions, and creating the consensus for national economic agreement.
Ireland saw another election in 1989, where Fail party lost several seats and lost its marginal lead in the parliament. To form the government Fail had to enter into a coalition with other parties, a step that many party-men deeply resented and opposed. However, Charles Hughey knew that in the capacity of Ahern he had a truly gifted negotiator and campaign manager with abilities correct the complex political equation and help his party form the government again.