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Ahern quits Fianna Fail rather than face expulsion

The former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced his resignation from the Fianna Fail party yesterday, saying he would rather leave than be expelled over an investigation into secret payments he received while in office.

Vowing to clear his name, Mr Ahern, 60, denounced the findings of a 15-year investigation into bribery and corruption in Irish political life.

The three judges overseeing the inquiry issued a final report on Thursday, finding that Mr Ahern collected more than €200,000 while in office. The report also found that he had tried to stop the public learning the truth about the money squirrelled away in two safes and third-party bank accounts.

"I believe a grave injustice has been done to me," Mr Ahern, who was Fianna Fail's leader from 1994 to 2008 and Prime Minister from 1997 to 2008, said in Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper. AP