Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 10:54 UK

Ahern 'to be star' of newspaper team

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern will write a weekly sports column

Former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern has signed up for a new career in the media - as a sports columnist for the News of the World.

Mr Ahern stood down as taoiseach last May, after almost 11 years in the job.

He'll be back in the limelight from next Sunday with his "Bertie Ahern Talks Sport" column in the Irish edition of the tabloid.

Mr Ahern has never hidden his support for Manchester United and Dublin's Gaelic football team, but admitted he would have to strive for impartiality in his weekly tome.

"It's no secret that I am sports-mad and this column will give me the chance to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of Irish and international sport," the former taoiseach said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Let's hope I end up writing about Ireland qualifying for the World Cup, winning the Six Nations again and Padraig Harrington lifting a few more majors."

Geoff Frazer, the editor of the Irish edition of the News of the World, said Mr Ahern was passionate about all sports.

"I have no doubt he will be a real star in our team," he said.

"This will be an unmissable read for every sports fan in Ireland."

Mr Ahern will juggle the demands of his weekly column with his continuing role as a member of the Irish Parliament (the Daíl), for which he earns 106,000 euros a year.

The Dubliner stepped down as taoiseach in May of last year, as pressure on him mounted while a tribunal investigated his personal finances.

Brian Cowen succeeded him as Irish premier and Fianna Fáil leader.

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