Early and personal life
Ahern's father, Eamon Ahern (1882–1953), was a member of Cork County Council from 1919 to 1953. He was a member of the IRA and the IRB. On Eamons' death, Liam was co-opted onto the council. Ahern's uncle, John Dinneen, was also a member of the Dáil between 1922 and 1927. Liam's uncle, Maurice Ahern (1899–1950), was captain of the East Cork 4th Battalion Number One Brigade of the IRA. In 1916, he led members of the Irish Volunteers from Dungourney, Clonmult and Ballynoe, under arms to Cork, and in the subsequent struggle was interned in Wakefield, Wandsworth and Frongoch prisons. Later, in Cork Prison, Maurice Ahern was the first man to go on hunger strike.
Liams' son Michael Ahern was a Fianna Fáil TD for Cork East from 1982 to 2011. Another son, auctioneer Maurice Ahern was a long-standing Fianna Fáil councillor for the Midleton electoral area of Cork County Council from 1979 to 2009.
A farmer and agricultural contractor, Ahern was first elected to the 9th Seanad in 1957 on the Labour Panel. In 1961 he was returned to the 10th Seanad on the Administrative Panel, and re-elected by the same panel to the 11th Seanad in 1965.
At the 1969 general election, he stood for election to the 19th Dáil in the Cork North-East constituency, but was narrowly beaten by his Fianna Fáil colleague Seán Brosnan. After his defeat, Ahern was returned to the 12th Seanad by the Administrative Panel.
At the 1973 general election, he again contested Cork North-East, where he came fourth out of the four successful candidates, unseating the sitting Fianna Fáil TD Seán Brosnan. A Fine Gael–Labour Party coalition government under Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave took power at that election, ending a sixteen-year period of Fianna Fáil government, and Ahern found himself in opposition for the first time in his career in the Oireachtas. He caused a minor sensation during the Dáil debate on the seizure of IRA arms on the MV Claudia in May 1973 when he shouted out, "More guns we want, bags of guns."
He died in July 1974 at the age of 58, triggering a by-election on 13 November 1974 in which his seat was retained for Fianna Fáil by Seán Brosnan.
- "Liam Ahern". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "Liam Ahern". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "19th Dáil – Cork North-East First preference votes". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- "20th Dáil – Cork North-East First preference votes". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- "Bags of Guns". The Listener. 90: 73. 1973.