Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 15:49 UK

Reaction to Ahern's resignation

Reaction to Bertie Ahern's announcement that he is stepping down as taoiseach on 6 May.

PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

Gordon Brown

Bertie Ahern has been an outstanding statesman, and has made an historic contribution in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland, transforming Ireland's relationship with the UK, and playing a key role in the development of a forward looking and dynamic Europe.

The UK could not have had a better partner.

FORMER PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR

Tony Blair

He will always be remembered for his crucial role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland, for transforming relations between Britain and the Irish Republic and for presiding over a sustained period of economic and social advance in Ireland.

He will have, deservedly, a central place in his nation's political history and much more widely.

A remarkable man with a remarkable record of achievement.


IRISH PRESIDENT MARY MCALEESE

Mary McAleese

I would like to compliment him warmly on his achievements as taoiseach.

His contributions to our thriving economy and to peace in Northern Ireland were hugely important and he deserves every credit for the work he has done.

Bertie Ahern will be remembered as one of the outstanding politicians of his generation both nationally and internationally.

DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST LEADER IAN PAISLEY

Ian Paisley

"In sharp contrast with other Irish prime ministers, I enjoyed a good working relationship with Mr Ahern because he was willing to recognise the position of the unionist population that they had no interest in being part of a united Ireland.

What they wanted to see was mutual co-operation when it worked to the benefit of both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

He and I operated as equals, not as one trying to assimilate the other.


SINN FÉIN LEADER GERRY ADAMS

Gerry Adams

He is justifiably proud of the fact that he was the taoiseach who was in place and who, with the british prime minister and the rest of us, brought about the Good Friday agreement and he deserves are thanks for that.

And he deserves our gratitude for that I mean, it was a collective effort, but clearly as the taoiseach of the day he is due appreciation for that.

NIGEL DODDS, DUP

Nigel Dodds

Bertie Ahern was clearly held in high regard by the people of the Republic of Ireland, as evidenced by the fact that he was elected to the post of prime minister on three separate occasions.

Nobody can question that he was committed to establishing a strong working relationship between his own country and this part of the United Kingdom.

ULSTER UNIONIST LEADER SIR REG EMPEY

Sir Reg Empey

Mr Ahern undoubtedly played a critical role in the peace process in Northern Ireland in many ways.

However, by removing articles two and three from the Republic of Ireland's constitution he was able to improve the relationship between unionists and the Republic that had been bedeviled by this issue for so long.

SDLP LEADER MARK DURKAN

Mark Durkan

When he came to office, he inherited the peace process and the talks process and ensured that their opportunity for all the people of Ireland was maximized.

His commitment to the north has been shown in his constant involvement either in implementing the Agreement or in initiatives to secure its implementation.

This good work involved not just high profile, high wire negotiations, but a lot of diligent private engagement with many interests.

ALLIANCE PARTY LEADER, DAVID FORD

David Ford

Regardless of concerns over his personal finances, Bertie Ahern has served people in the north and south of Ireland with remarkable distinction over a very long period.

He was always a positive figure during negotiations and was very constructive, often during difficult stages in the peace process.

Unlike some others, he was prepared to extend the hand of friendship to Northern Ireland.

SECRETARY OF STATE SHAUN WOODWARD

Shaun Woodward

I very much regret Bertie's decision because he is a huge figure in politics and incredibly important to the NI peace process.

I think everybody in Northern Ireland is obliged to wish him well because without Bertie we would not have had the enormous transformation of lives of people in Northern Ireland from violence to one of peace and prosperity.

FORMER JUNIOR MINISTER IAN PAISLEY JUNIOR

Ian Paisley Jnr

"It is very clear from the relationships we were able to build on the basis of fairness and the basis of mutual benefit for both jurisdictions that this was a good relationship that the DUP established with Bertie Ahern.

He is a giant in terms of building relationships in this island. Whilst others talked about being bridge-builders, he has built real relationships and I think this is his legacy.

SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER ALEX SALMOND

Alex Salmond

His political career is one of great achievement. He was a key player in bringing about the historic Good Friday Agreement, and I am in no doubt his significant contribution to the peace efforts - and devolution - will be a fitting and lasting legacy for his 30 years in politics.

He has never failed to impress me - as taoiseach - and in his previous and wider roles in Irish politics. The accomplishments of the Irish Celtic Tiger economy demonstrate the advantage of being a small independent nation in Europe.

PROGRESSIVE UNIONIST PARTY LEADER DAWN PURVIS

Dawn Purvis

I would like to pay tribute to Bertie Ahern and the contribution he has made towards bringing peace and accountable democracy to Northern Ireland. As Taoiseach Mr Ahern has sacrificed both his time and also his self in forwarding our peace process."

He sought to understand loyalism and to ensure they played a role in creating peace, the PUP and the late David Ervine certainly appreciated his efforts.


FINE GAEL LEADER ENDA KENNY

Enda Kenny

The taoiseach here has bowed to the inevitable, based on the weight of his own evidence at the tribunal.

I believe that whoever the new leader of Fianna Fail is, that person should seek to clear the air and should go before the people and seek a mandate for the unfolding of a new era.

PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS LEADER MARY HARNEY

Mary Harney

This decision was inevitable.

The situation has been that the work of government was being distracted by a series of unfolding events and facts discovered by the Mahon Tribunal.

We regret to say that much of his good work will be overshadowed by yet another Fianna Fail leader having to leave in these circumstances.

SINN FÉIN DÁIL LEADER CAOIMHGHÍN Ó CAOLÁIN

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

He is justifiably proud of the fact that he was the taoiseach who was in place and who, with the British prime minister and the rest of us, brought about the Good Friday Agreement and he deserves are thanks for that.

And he deserves our gratitude for that I mean, it was a collective effort but clearly as the taoiseach of the day he is due appreciation for that.




SEE ALSO
Ahern to resign as Irish premier
02 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
Teflon taoiseach comes unstuck
02 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland


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