That Bertie Ahern Can't String a Sentence Together Why Are You Telling Me? I'm Just His Elocution Coach; It's Too Quiet. Patrick Sutton, above and Tubridy

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IT WAS, even by RT...'s impressive standards, a moment of car crash radio.

For as Bertie Ahern prepared himself for his long-awaited tribunal appearance,radio host Ryan Tubridy was on the airwaves deriding the Taoiseach's speakingmanner.

The only problem was, however, that the presenter evidently didn't realise hewas making his comments to the very man who gives elocution lessons to MrAhern.

Yesterday Patrick Sutton, director of the Gaiety School of Acting, joinedTubridy on air to discuss the intimidating art of public speaking.

But as the Blackrock Collegeeducated presenter launched into a tirade againstMr Ahern's famous lack of eloquence, his guest became curiously defensive aboutthe Taoiseach's speaking ability.

Instead, Mr Sutton remained strangely quiet for most of the conversation, whichbegan with Tubridy's assertion that Mr Ahern has 'never mastered the art ofdelivering a speech'.

Mr Sutton only interjected twice, his terse comments implying that Tubridycould say what he liked about Mr Ahern's skills as an orator - but he is stillthe Taoiseach.

Listeners evidently struggled to figure out why the director of the GaietySchool of Acting was being defensive about the universally acknowledged factthat Mr Ahern is far from a silver-tongued speaker.

Could it be, as one texter to the programme suggested, because it was MrAhern's birthday yesterday?

Or was it because Mr Sutton, like the rest of the country, was only too awarethat Mr Ahern would take the stand at the Mahon Tribunal today and thought hedeserved a day off beforehand? However, back in 2004, it emerged that Mr Suttonhad been giving the Taoiseach elocution lessons for a lengthy portion of hispolitical career.

'I've been working with him for years on and off. I have given him a few tipsand advice on how to speak clearly and concisely and succinctly,' Mr Suttonsaid of the private lessons at the time.

So his reaction to Tubridy's claims that Mr Ahern's 'speech delivery is sodisappointing' was hardly surprising. The Radio One kingpin said: 'Take, forexample, the Taoiseach, who's one of the most successful politicians of moderntimes in this country.

'And yet his speech delivery is so disappointing, he's never mastered the artof delivering a speech.

'Bertie seems to have this ability to be seen as the great communicator, yethis speechmaking in front of a crowd - he's somebody who doesn't lookcomfortable delivering a speech no matter how good the words that are written,'he continued. …