Activists from the Connolly Youth Movement’s Dublin branch disrupted the conferral of an honorary doctorate on former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. The conferral came from Dublin City University.
The activists began the interruption once Ahern took to the podium to receive his award on Thursday afternoon. Reading from a pre-prepared statement, the activists were successful in disrupting the event until being escorted from the event by university security.
The activists’ statement made the reason for their action clear.
“We are opposed to the celebration of a corrupt politician who ruined the lives of so many young people, an architect of the financial crisis which lost so many young people as a result of suicide and emigration” it read.
💶 THE PIONEER OF OUR ARREARS 💶— Connolly Youth Movement (@ConnollyYM) March 2, 2023
Members of the Connolly Youth Movement were out today to disrupt and oppose an event in place of Ireland’s biggest crook Bertie Ahern. pic.twitter.com/u53rNTHUug
Ahern received the award alongside DCU professor Monica McWilliams, to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
Architect of our Arrears
However, Ahern’s broader political career was the focus of the demonstration. Significantly, the former-Taoiseach was forced to resign following damning evidence of corruption discovered by the Mahon Tribunal in 2008.
The scandal forced his resignation as Taoiseach, as well as his resignation from Fianna Fáil. The allegations have hounded the former-Taoiseach since, most notably during an interview on Deutsche Welle’s ‘Conflict Zone’. Ahern, unhappy with the line of questioning pursued by interviewer Tim Sebastian, stormed out.
Ahern has recently been readmitted to Fianna Fáil and it is heavily rumoured that the party intend to put him forward for the next presidential race to replace incumbent Michael D. Higgins.
However, an Ipsos poll conducted by the Irish Times found that 65 per cent of voters would not vote for Ahern were he to run.
It is Ahern’s political legacy and recent attempts at rehabilitation that prompted the CYM activists’ action at DCU.
“Bertie Ahern does not deserve to be allowed to crawl back into public life. Bertie Ahern does not deserve a chance to rehabilitate his image. The only thing Bertie Ahern deserves is to stand trial before the people of Ireland and face justice” said the activist who read out the statement.