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Tips from Bertie, for a big tip

August 4, 2011

By Staff Reporter

There was once a Celtic Tiger and how Ireland got to be striped and clawed is the subject of a lecture being delivered just about anywhere in the world by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

And for that delivery, Ahern collects a reported $40,000 a pop.

Ahern is represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau, an agency that services the global lecture circuit elite.

“The Washington Speakers Bureau brings audiences quality speakers and experts whose ideas are changing the face of business and inspiring the world,” the bureau proclaims on its website.

And it’s not exaggerating. Its list of speakers is a veritable who’s who of political, business and media faces. Ahern is listed in the U.S. and world leadership category and on a WSB website feature that is a revolving deck of photos, Ahern can be seen right alongside former president George W Bush and Sarah Palin.

On top of this, Ahern is actually placed at the very top of the agency’s website’s more detailed speaker list because it is arranged in alphabetical order. Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, a close friend and partner in bringing about the Northern Ireland peace process, is also a WSB client.

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According to an Irish Independent report, during his set piece lecture, entitled “Prime Minister as CEO,” Ahern offers tips to bosses of leading firms on how to be competitive and tells listeners to adopt Ireland’s Celtic Tiger as a model of economic growth.

The paper, drawing on “a well-placed source,” reported that Ahern is one of the most sought-after of the 346 speakers on WSB’s books.

“His fee, which is listed as being more than $40,000, is in the top bracket and shared by just 57 other mostly American speakers, including former U.S. President George W Bush,” the Independent reported.

“A gushing profile, listed on the website of the bureau, pays tribute to what many regard as Mr. Ahern’s greatest achievement in office – his key role in forging the Good Friday Agreement.

“But it is his speech on the economy which promises to reveal how Irish citizens accepted ‘short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term gain,’ which has raised most eyebrows,” the report added.

And it stated: “The outline of the speech reads: ‘Leading the turnaround of an entire country is akin to the constant evolution companies and organizations must undergo to remain competitive.

‘Bertie Ahern dedicated his career to re-inventing his country’s economic and political stakes in global affairs. He persuaded his fellow politicians and citizens to accept short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term gain. His ability to persuade his constituents to follow his vision provides lessons for even the most seasoned executives.'”

The report highlighted the fact that Ahern’s lecture seemingly ignores the deep recession that followed the boom that occurred during his more than ten years in office.

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