Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Bertie Ahern endorses McAllister

In a shock move former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has endorsed Martin McAllister’s campaign for election to the Assembly.

Mr. Ahern, Ireland’s longest serving Taoiseach since Éamon de Valera, described Martin McAllister as a “true supporter of the potential of the Good Friday Agreement”.

The former Taoiseach, who served from 1997-2008, is credited as one of the key architects of the Good Friday Agreement. More recently, Mr. Ahern has spoken out about the damage which Brexit could do to Britain’s relationship with Ireland describing it as “negative in every way” for the relationship.

In his letter the former Taoiseach commends McAllister’s “community work in Crossmaglen and across south Armagh” adding that “the work of dealing with issues affecting everyday life including the economy, health and education can only be delivered by community activists like you”.

Reacting to the former Taoiseach’s unexpected endorsement, Martin McAllister said, “I have worked with Bertie Ahern for a number of years, particularly during the early years of the peace process and his contribution to peace in Ireland is second to none. However, the work of peace involves transforming people’s everyday lives too and I’m very pleased that Bertie understands the importance of reversing south Armagh’s economic decline and improving our education and health services”.

The Cross Examiner understands that Mr. Ahern’s personal endorsement, reproduced in full on this page, is the only intervention of the Assembly campaign by any serving or former Taoiseach.