Early this evening Bertie Ahern has formally tendered his resignation as Taoiseach to President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin (the President's official residence in the Phoenix Park).
After opening the refurbished visitors' centre at Oldbridge - the site of the 1690 Battle of the Boyne - this morning together with the North's First Minister Ian Paisley and creating a remarkable closing ceremony for his era (see my entry from earlier today), Mr. Ahern had spent the afternoon clearing his desk and bidding a final farewell to his staff in Government Buildings, where some senior members of his team will be stepping down with him.
He arrived at Áras an Uachtaráin just after 6 p.m. (shortly after the last sound of the Angelus bell) to formally tell the President of his intention to resign as the country's political leader. He had announced his intention to do so already in public on April 2nd (one day after I suggested on this weblog that it was the only sensible option left to him).
Patrick Bartholomew "Bertie" Ahern, TD - originally an accountant from the working-class "North Side" of Dublin - was the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland and leader of the majority government party Fianna Fáil for more than a decade. He won the general elections in 1997, 2002 and 2007 and led coalition governments supported by the Progressive Democrats, several independent TDs and - since last year - also by the Green Party.
Dáil Éireann (the House of Deputies) will meet tomorrow to elect Bertie Ahern's successor. It is almost certain that the current Tánaiste and Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, will become the next Taoiseach.
The Emerald Islander