Irish PM Resigns in Kickback Scandal

Ahern was most successful PM in decades
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2008 7:11 AM CDT
President Bush and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern talk after taking part in a St. Patrick's Day reception, Monday, March 17, 2008, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.    (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – The prime minister of Ireland announced his resignation today in the face of a growing scandal over his personal finances, reports the Irish Times. Bertie Ahern, a key player in the Northern Ireland peace deal once tipped to be the first permanent EU president, admitted no wrongdoing in the surprise announcement. A tribunal has been investigating whether he took kickbacks while serving as Ireland's finance minister.

"Never in all the time that I served in politics have I ever put my personal interest ahead of the public good," Ahern told the press today. Under his leadership Ireland's economy roared to become one of the most robust in Europe, but in recent weeks his coalition partners turned on him as the scandal grew. Ahern will step down on May 6 after delivering a speech to the US Congress, a first for an Irish leader.