Bertie Ahern, the Tiaoseach, is actually leaving office under a cloud of suspicion caused by his failure to adequately explain his financial affairs. This has been forgotten, however, as he basks in the glory of his role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, the Republic’s recent economic success and Fianna Fail’s unprecedented electoral success. His farewell tour reached its highpoint this week when he addressed both Houses of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In an emotional speech Ahern was frequently interrupted by spontaneous applause – not least when he declared “Ireland is at peace”. It was a virtuoso performance.