A colleague who shall remain Fionnan Sheahan yesterday put a hilarious context on Bertie Ahern's doorstep interview yesterday about the Phoenix Park and pick-me-ups and his dear dear friend Pádraic O'Connor. I'll paint the picture first.
First of all, Charlie Bird asked a really good question about the raising of a false invoice for the payment of the £5,000 from NCB.
What the Anorak did then was a bit of muddying the waters. He said that the form of pick-me-up donation (ie where a donor agreed to pay a particular bill for a political party) continued until 1999. And Charlie pointed out - 100% correctly - that this wasn't the occasion for one; this was a personal dig-out for Bertie Ahern and not a bill payment.
Secondly, Charlie tried to get him to admit that it was wrong. The Bert refused to do that, going no further than saying it wasn't the way he would have done business. But when Charlie pressed him on it, saying that what Des Richardson had done was wrong; Ahern, quick as a greyhound out of the traps, included Pádraic O'Connor in that blame game, saying there were two of them in it.
What a way to turn on one of your dearest and closest friends.
And back to Fionnan. He said it reminded him of the famous speech from the Godfather, where Michael Coreleone, after finding that his brother Fredo has betrayed him, turns around to him, kisses him on the cheeck, and says: "You are dead to me now."
And now to another good friend Dermot Ahern. Well Dermo has proved in the past he would go up every tree in North Dublin on behalf of his boss. Well this morning he proved that he is also willing to shout from every tree in North and South Dublin on behalf of his boss. Besides Martin Mansergh whose relationship to the current Fianna Fail leader is akin to that of Smithers to Mr Burns in the The Simpsons, Dermot Ahern is the archest of arch-loyalists.
When you parse what he had to say on Morning Ireland this morning (which I intend to do) the whirlwind of hot air and bluster he generated would be enough to to keep Iveagh House fully lit up for at least a year.