Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Foster must 'cheer up' and prove herself, says Bertie Ahern

By Mark Bain

Arlene Foster "needs to cheer up a bit" if she's to lead Northern Ireland's political parties back into government at Stormont, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said.

The former Fianna Fail leader said that the issue with the DUP leader is that she "is not loved by many in her own party, by Sinn Fein, the SDLP, or on the streets".

"That's the problem, she needs to cheer up a bit and convince people that we can all love her if she is to lead the parties back into the Assembly," he said.

"But as long as she is DUP party leader, the Irish government should try to work alongside her, and not create any problems.

"I know that's not easy; she's not a very easy person, and had a terrible rough time during her life, but so did many others, and came across the line."

During a question and answer session with RTE political correspondent Tommie Gorman in the Darnley Lodge Hotel, Co Meath, Mr Ahern agreed that getting the DUP to sign up to the peace process was the last chapter, the unfinished business, after the Omagh bomb.

"It was clear we had to get the DUP in," he said.

"They were on the way to being the largest party, representing the highest proportion of people in Northern Ireland, and I set about building a relationship with Ian Paisley. He turned out to be a good guy to deal with."

Belfast Telegraph

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