TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern and his estranged wife have taken the unprecedented step this weekend of denying rumours they have been reunited as a couple, following speculation that they were back together after the wedding of their daughter Georgina to Westlife star Nicky Byrne last weekend.

The pair have come out together to confirm that they are "just good friends" at present. Media reports suggested that the Taoiseach and Miriam would reunite after he and his long term partner Celia Larkin recently split up.

However, the Taoiseach said this weekend that "any suggestion of a deeper involvement was just mere speculation". Speaking while on holiday in Donegal, the Taoiseach said that he and Miriam enjoyed planning their daughter's wedding and said the affair was intensely private.

The Taoiseach also described their daughter's wedding, which took place in the small village of Gallardon in the south of France under tight security, as "a wonderful experience" and was keen to play down any of the negative reports that emerged from the event. He criticised the handling of some members of the Irish media, in particular the violent attack that was perpetrated on three Irish photographers at a wedding rehearsal in the French village. "There was no need for violence of any kind, " he insisted.

The Taoiseach also said he was not party to any of the arrangements relating to the exclusivew Hello! magazine deal between his daughter and Byrne.