Farm tragedy: Bertie opens up about his grandfather’s suicide

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern recently opened up about his grandfather committing suicide on the RTE One programme Who Do You Think You Are?

Broadcast last night (Sunday, September 30), Bertie trawled through documents as he examined his family history.

During the episode, he explained that his grandfather – Maurice Ahern (70) – committed suicide in 1933.

Maurice was a farmer who lived near Carrigaline in Co. Cork. His wife had died a number of months before he passed away and Maurice reportedly “felt his bereavement very keenly”.

Documents received by Bertie stated that Maurice died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest that was “self inflicted”.

One of the documents said: “The unfortunate man was found lying dead in bed at his home in circumstances which suggested that he shot himself. A gun was found close to the body, and it is stated a piece of twine had been affixed to the trigger.”

The episode detailed how Bertie’s father – Con – refused to take over the family farm and instead chose to move to Dublin.

Speaking about his grandfather, Bertie said: “His wife had died just six months before that and then my father had left against his wishes.

“It was a sad end for him, because he apparently was a very hard working man.

At that time, very few people would have ever said somebody committed suicide because people would have covered that up. My father, I think for his own reason, made sure that we all understood that.

After Maurice’s funeral, Bertie added that his father never returned to the family farm again. But he did keep in touch with his brothers and sisters, Bertie outlined.

The full episode, detailing the former Taoiseach’s family history, can be viewed online.