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TAOISEACH A TRUE FAN.

Byline: COLM KEYS

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern once managed to re-arrange a meeting of Europe's top finance ministers in Dublin Castle during Ireland's EU presidency because it clashed with a Leinster final involving his beloved Dublin.

So it was no surprise when GAA President Sean McCague announced a pounds 60million windfall that will wipe out the Croke Park debt.

Mr Ahern is a sports fanatic. A keen soccer fan, he's also a regular racegoer - he never misses the Galway festival - but what stands out above everything else is his love of the Dubs and the GAA.

Sunday afternoons are sacrosanct for Bertie. Unless there's a national crisis or he's just not in the country, he will always be in Croke Park throughout the Championship season.

It was a family day for the Aherns for years as he brought his daughters to games.

Even as they pursue other interests in the showbiz world, Bertie's passion for GAA continues unabated.

To him a good club match is every bit as interesting as a cut and thrust Leinster battle.

The home of Dublin football - Parnell Park - is another regular haunt of our sports-mad Taoiseach.

He was once criticised for attending the launch of his good friend Paidi O Se's Gaeltacht tournament on the night of an important government vote.

In recent times, legendary GAA stars John O'Leary and Pat Spillane have had their memoirs launched by the country's sports mad leader.

Bertie's knowledge of Gaelic football is intimate, particularly the Dublin scene.

He never played for Dublin but he enjoyed an underage career with Whitehall Colmcilles.

CAPTION(S):

GOOD FRIEND: Kerry manager Paidi O Se is a pal of Bertie
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 7, 2001
Words:276
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