Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The most cunning, most devious of them all is gone.
From the steps of the government buildings plinth he fell on his sword, his lip all a-quiver with pent-up tears.
Well, Bertie was always one for the dramatic touch. Whether it was the yellow suit in the company of world leaders or the famous anorak as he stood in the floodwaters of Drumcondra, Bertie always knew how to hold a crowd.
Unlike Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey and Albert Reynolds, Bertie is the first Fianna Fail leader in living memory to go at a time of his own choosing.
Of course, perhaps it is more a time of The Mahon Tribunal's choosing.
Either way, the reign of the Bert ends on the 6th of May, following his address at the Houses of Congress in the US and, strangely, the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister.
And later, there is Taoiseach's questions in the Dail, when the invisible man Enda Kenny had planned to draw blood. That flush is busted for Fine Gael now, a small consolation for Bertie today.
Bertie was flanked by nearly all of his cabinet. Looking very out of place, John Gormley stood behind Bertie as he barely mentioned the Green Party in the lengthy list of shout-outs he gave to all who had ever supported him.
Whereas Mary Harney, who Bertie described as a 'good friend', had the sense not to appear on the plinth.
Cowen looked bored, looking over Bertie's shoulder at his speech as if trying to see how long Bertie was going to talk for. Behind him, stood Brian Lenihan, who in Bertie's absence may well be elevated to Minister of Finance when Cowen becomes Taoiseach.
Bertie said that his resignation had nothing to do with recent events. That's not the first untruth he's told in recent times. But it is one, perhaps, that he can be forgiven for.
There's no harm in letting the man leave with his dignity intact. But I still look forward to his appearing before the Tribunal to explain the hundreds of thousands of punts that washed through his bank account.
There is a sea-change in Irish politics. Bertie, whose sins compared to those of Haughey are venal, has had to resign, and those in Irish politics who are much more corrupt, much filthier than Bertie should now quake in their gucci loafers.
The clean-up has begun.