Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he will “never say never” to a possible presidential candidacy run.
This comes as he continues to remain coy on whether he will run for presidency in 2025, when the second term of current president Michael D. Higgins’ term is up.
The former Fianna Fáil leader resigned from the party in 2012, but was reinstated in February ahead of the landmark 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, with which he was closely involved.
Mr Ahern was speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Week in Westminster about the House of Commons vote to implement the Windsor Framework’s Stormont brake, which passed by 515 votes to 29, in advance of the 25 anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
“You have already said that the next presidential election in 2025 is too far away to think about, but is it fair to say you are a ‘never say never’ man?” Paul Waugh, who presents the Week in Westminster, asked.
“I never say never, but I am a member of the Council of State, which advises the President when he seeks that advice. He has two and a half years of his term of office still to run,” Ahern answered.
“I quite frankly think it is quite disrespectful for people to want to start a campaign until nearer the election time so therefore I don’t think we should be getting into this debate, and I decline to get into it,” he added.
Mr Ahern was readmitted to his former political party as an ordinary member in February, paying an annual fee of €20.
Following this, speculation has circulated on whether he would run for presidency, after senior Fianna Fáil figures emphasised that he would not take on any senior party role.
Fianna Fáil leader and Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that his membership is welcome in the context of his “outstanding” contribution to peace on the island, as a co-signatory of the Good Friday Agreement.