Bertie Ahern on Ireland joining the UK: "We have an 800-year past of difficulties and that’s just a reality of our history"
Bertie Ahern doesn't pull any punches when asked about Ireland joining the UK.
On Wednesday morning, Bertie Ahern was invited to speak at the Exiting the European Union Committee as part of its over-arching inquiry examining the progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal.
The former Taoiseach discussed how the Brexit negotiations thus far have affected the relationship between Ireland and the UK, and how he believes things are set to play out.
At one point, he was asked: "Do you think the Irish government would benefit from having you as the man helping to bridge the gap and find a solution?", to which Ahern replied: "They'd probably say God forbid."
But perhaps the highlight of the discussion came when he was asked how the suggestions of Ireland "re-joining" the UK had gone down in Ireland.
The Drumcondra man replied: "Well I’ll just be kind and say not very well. Unfortunately we have an 800-year past of difficulties and that’s just a reality of our history."
That's one way of putting it, Bertie...
He also alluded to the possibility of a united Ireland when he was asked what he thought the constitutional position of Northern Ireland would be post-Brexit.
“The Good Friday agreement resolved the constitutional issue in Northern Ireland on the basis of consent, that Northern Ireland as of now remains part of United Kingdom and until some day that changes by the will of the people.
"We also have to be very clear on this and, chairman with the greatest of respect, sometimes when I hear people, including some distinguished members of parliament and I totally respect their views and others, talking loudly over the past few years of no basis existing for divergence of any kind between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, I wondered had I turned into Rip Van Winkle, that great man from the legend who fell asleep for 20 years and woke up finding everything changed."
You can watch Ahern's session with the Committee in full here.