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Ahern, Bertie(Bartholomew Patrick Ahern) (əhûrn`), 1951–, Irish politician, prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (1997–2008). Born into a working-class family, he studied accounting at University College, Dublin. A member of Fianna FáilFianna Fáil
, Irish political party, organized in 1926 by opponents of the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 establishing the Irish Free State and setting up Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.
..... Click the link for more information. , he entered the Irish parliament in 1977 and held a number of parliamentary offices. From 1986 to 1987 he was lord mayor of Dublin. Returning to national government, he served as labor minister (1987–91) and finance minister (1991–94).
Ahern became head of Fianna Fáil in 1994 and was leader of the opposition until 1997, when he succeeded John BrutonBruton, John
, 1947–, Irish politician, b. Dublin. A lawyer and farm owner, he is a member of the centrist Fine Gael party. Bruton was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1969 and during the 1970s served as a junior minister.
..... Click the link for more information. as prime minister, heading a Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrat coalition. He helped to broker a cease-fire by the Irish Republican Army, and in 1998 he and others (including Britain's Tony BlairBlair, Tony
(Anthony Charles Lynton Blair), 1953–, British politician, b. Edinburgh. An Oxford-educated lawyer, he was first elected to Parliament in 1983 as the Labour party candidate from a district in N England.
..... Click the link for more information. and America's George MitchellMitchell, George John,
1933–, U.S. public official, b. Waterville, Maine. An attorney in private and government practice in the 1960s and 1970s, he was a protege of Senator Edmund Muskie.
..... Click the link for more information. ) brokered a peace agreement in Northern Ireland. Ahern also increased the republic's influence in Northern Ireland. His government was returned to office in the 2002 and 2007 elections, but as a three-party coalition with the addition of the Green Party after the 2007 vote.
Revelations that Ahern had received secret cash payments from businessmen in the early 1990s led to an investigation that revealed additional payments, and in 2008, with the controversy over the payments undermining his authority, Ahern resigned as prime minister and party leader. He was succeeded in the posts by Deputy Prime Minister Brian CowenCowen, Brian,
1960– Irish political leader, prime minister of the Repubic of Ireland (2008–11). A lawyer from a family long involved in Fianna Fáil politics, he was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1984, winning his late father's seat.
..... Click the link for more information. . The 2012 report by the investigation accused Ahern of lying under oath and his government of attempting to undermine investigation, but it also found that there was no evidence that Ahern did political favors in return for the payments.
See biography by K. Whelan and E. Masterson (1999).