There was this old friend of Larry's called Bert Mahon. He worked the bins for Patsy Carolan, back in the day when bins were made from steel and could be stuffed with banger TV's. Back when it was all manual lifting and discarding said bin was a matter of choice for the binman. Before there were rules about such things!
Bert served his master well. He smoked cigarettes as he dispensed with the garbage. Food, ashes and nappies clinging to his overalls, all which made him smell like a dump. 24-7.
A man of simple tastes was Bert. Never could settle until he did. For six pints of bass a night and a chipper on the way home.
The grind gradually wore ol' Bert down over the years. Lungs start giving way. Trouble with his back. Inflamed joints. Eye-sight went on the blink. His hair began to fall out. His cheekbones tried to escape from the sockets of his eyes. He even went a little yellow if I remember correctly. Though that could have been just wet ashes that sometimes screeched across his face.
Patsy's son Dave, a right little bollocks, used to take pics of old Bert and stick them up on YouTube. No-one knew he did it, apart from the thousands that tuned in to voyeur for what ever reason. Bert certainly didn't know. He wasn't a YouTube kinda guy.
He continued to wear thin. He won a Hunter S. Thompson look-alike contest two weeks before he departed. Ringer he was. He was proud of that.
Then it all came to a head. One day, when no-one was looking - in he went. Using that very head of his that was shrinking with each passing week, he arrowed himself into the back of the lorry one miserable wet Thursday in the middle of summer. 2005, I think!
'He must have slipped,' they said. They were wrong.
'He jumped,' Larry told me, recalling a conversation Bert and he had one evening on the late Hughie Everett 3. 'He told me he'd do it. It's where he wanted to go!'
Those other world's.
... Back in reality. Its taken 15 years. It cost in the region of a quarter of a billion euro. Its findings hasn't surprised anyone. A year or thereabouts to the day since Irish politics last great day of shame, the Mahon Tribunal finally published its findings today.
The 3,200+ page report found ex-taoiseach Bertie Ahern, 'untruthful' in matters surrounding his personal finances. No allegation of corruption were laid against the former 3-time taoiseach.
Other members of Fianna Fáil were not so lucky.
Ex-Minister Padraig Flynn and ex-Fianna Fáil TD, Liam Lawlor, were both found to have sought and received corrupt payments.
Former Fianna Fáil and government press-secretary, Frank Dunlop, was found to have received €1.8 million from developer Owen O' Callaghan. O' Callaghan earlier today dismissed the reports findings and called for a judicial review.
It doesn't end there. 11 county Councillors have also had findings of corruption laid against them.
Fianna Fáil's Finbarr Hanrahan, Cyril Gallagher and GV Wright, Fine Gael's Tom Hand, Labour's John O'Halloran and Independent Pat Dunne. Five cannot be named because they are before the courts.
It would appear the problem is not systemic to any one party these days. Where else is it going on? To what level? How do you get in on the action?
We'll never know. The day of a tribunal cash-cow is over in Ireland. We're bankrupt!
The report found that corruption affected 'every level of Irish political life and was allowed to continue unabated.' Damning statement, no doubt about it.
'There's a crook in us all,' as Leon used to say.
As was the case with the Moriarty Tribunal just one year ago, the Government have referred the report to Garda Commissioner, the Director of Public Prosecutions , the Revenue Commissioners and to the Standards in Public Office Commission.
I said what I said about that back then. I have seen nothing that makes me change my mind since.
Michael Martin has promised a swift response to the findings, to which he said earlier he accepted. It would appear Bertie's days as a Fianna Fáil member are over.
Unfortunately Martin - and I do like the man - is on a fast track to no-where given his ties with the previous Fianna Fáil government.
He was one of many ministers who took a stab at the tribunal and its questioning of Ahern at the time in question. Dick Roach, Willie O' Dea and Dermot Ahern were others.
I remember Ireland pre-Bertie Ahern and know the Ireland of today. His hand in things stretch far and wide, for better or for worse, depending on an individuals standpoint. There's no doubt what he brought to Ireland. Before his vision blurred. Before ours did too.
Ahern's legacy unfortunately will forever be tainted by these payments, dig-outs, loans, horse winnings, whatever they were. We've all dug-out a mate at one time or another. Not that I'm making a comparison. He could come clean and account for the money in full. Might step on a few toes though.
It doesn't appear lightly however. He maintained in a statement tonight he never received a corrupt payment and he still intends to pursue avenues to vindicate his name.
Ahern's a man who got too caught up in his own hype and perhaps even that legacy that he worked hard to build before it turned sour. His contribution to peace on the island can not be denied. Making Ireland feel a little good about herself was also good while it lasted.
However, he also authored her present downfall with giveaway budgets that defied belief when commentators were saying a brake needed to be applied.
He did it for an historical third term as taoiseach. It worked. We all bought it. Like Bertie, we got carried away too. It's easy to blindfold a willing nation.
Some benefited more than others - but who would deny it was fuckin' great while it lasted.
All the goings-on in Anglo, the share fixing investigation, events surrounding the back guarantee, the potential opening up of NAMA have all still to come. If you're looking for light at the end of a tunnel, look for another tunnel.
It's enough to make you want to retire into a bottle of a certain Russian substance with a little Arctic Ice shipped in especially for such occasions. Smoke cigarettes and write about vampires. Till dawn. Then lie in bed all day and think about it. Between naps and episodes of Jeremy Kyle. Let it all just slip on by.
I really need to get around to that way of livin'.
How do you change a system that's rotten to the core - and quickly? Unfortunately, you can't. Hopes a devilish fuck to have to contend with by times. We get whiffs of it. Around election times - but it quickly disappears. You read these reports and the damn headlines day in and day out. Nothing changes. It's a self-serving circle.
Despite it all coming out - little is ever done. There's no desire for fairness or equality in the circles that have the power to shape that. It's a nod and a wink, crony capitalistic culture. It's there to see with every day that passes.
What change does Ireland ever get? The change they vote for? Don't make me laugh. I'm sure me face would crack.
Nope, we get teachers like 'Big' Phil Hogan talking down to adults in this country like they are school children and criminals because they dare question the fairness of the utterly wrong Household Charge. After what politics has done to this country? Pure arrogance. If it's not him it's Varadkar or Creighton. And even Gilmore at times.
Just another bad day for Ireland. Worse, because from where I sit, it won't change much. It cost a quarter of a billion euro to bring these things to people's attention. Might be a bad day for Ireland - but it's a good day for someone.
I wonder if Bert and Hugh ever met in a dump somewhere. Lost out there with the rest of the garbage. Been a lot of garbage lately though.
Conversations From A Dump.
by Don Booker.
I read a rumour on a forum earlier that Bertie Ahern would be signing copies of the Mahon Tribunal Report in Eason's tomorrow in aid of a Children's Hospital.