For further information:
Senior Press Officer
Tel: +353 1 419 3428
Tel: +353 1 419 3430
TV3 GROUP RELEASE
IMMEDIATE: Wednesday 31st August 2011
• Ursula Halligan presents a three part series on The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fáil
• The documentaries track the story of the Soldiers of Destiny from the party’s origins in the Civil War through to the dizzy heights of the Celtic Tiger era and the catastrophe of this year’s General Election
• Exclusive interviews with key party figures witness hard-hitting analysis of how the party developed to achieve a vice-like grip on power only to let it fall from its grasp
• Bertie Ahern staunchly defends his record as Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach
• He criticises some party members as “useless good-for-nothings” • In her first keynote interview, Celia Larkin believes Bertie Ahern viewed power like “notches on a bedpost”.
• She says she would have left him if she thought he was corrupt
• Charles Haughey’s son says “personal lifestyle” was his father’s major character flaw
The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fáil tells the story of how the party was born from the ashes of the Civil War and went on to dominate politics for most of the history of this state. De Valera and others built an unrivalled election machine, largely through a branch network known as the “cumainn”.
In an interview with TV3’s Political Editor Ursula Halligan, Bertie Ahern defends himself strongly against criticisms that big personalities took over the party and ran “personal militias” in order to secure votes.
He said: “A lot of people (cumainn members) had tea parties in the Seventies and Eighties and met to discuss the state of the world, including Ireland. But as far as building up the Fianna Fáil vote in these areas, they were useless.”
The documentary also features a revealing interview with Bertie Ahern’s former partner Celia Larkin, who believes he viewed power like “notches on a bedpost”. She says she urged him to put the country first and quit after a term and a half but he refused to do so.
She said: “I never believed he was corrupt – never. If I thought he was corrupt, I would never have stayed with him as long as I did. I don’t think the Bertie that I know would ever have set himself up to be a puppet politician or beholden to anybody.”
The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fáil is a three part documentary series charting the story of what was once one of the most successful political parties in the world. It draws on more than 50 hours of interviews with the key players, historians, academics and journalists to reveal the inside story of both the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of Fianna Fáil.
The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fáil airs on Mondays 5th September, 12th September and 19th September at 10pm on TV3
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For further information:
Maureen Catterson/ Ciara Byrne
TV3 PRESS OFFICE
+353 1 419 3430/ 329
+353 87 7800 737/ +353 87 319 9732
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