GRÁINNE NÍ AODHA
| The Journal
DUBLIN - Former Ireland taoiseach [prime minister] Bertie Ahern has explained his involvement in the Bougainville Referendum and the significance of the result, as chair of the referendum’s commission.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, he said that “this is a big issue with Australia and New Zealand, this is an everyday news story.
“It has had quite a violent past, the last number of years have been peaceful,” he added.
Acting in his role as chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, Ahern had declared that 176,928 people (98% of voters) had backed independence with just 3,043 supporting the option of remaining part of Papua New Guinea with more autonomy.
The commission was responsible for preparing the region for the independence vote and Ahern was appointed as chairman in October 2018.
“The allowance I get is small… as I did in the Basque country and the Ukraine, most my work is with development organisations where you don’t get salaries but UNDP cover the costs.”
He said that for the last 18 months, he has been back and forth implementing the peace process and the referendum for independence.