Wednesday 23 January 2019

Cheers and jeers for Bertie on beat

SOME days you have to take the rough with the smooth.

Nobody knows this more than our esteemed former leader Bertie Ahern. You may have thought you'd seen the last of him, but he's still on the prowl, fighting fit, and appearing at a street corner near you.

He's pounding the pavements on behalf of his party colleague, and loyal supporter, Cyprian Brady, and on a dreary day around Dorset Street, garnering support looks like an easy job.

A beaming Dolores Greene tells Cyprian he is assured of her number one vote, much to his delight. But then she wags a finger and warns: "Mind you, that's on account of this fella", flashing a smile at the lingering Bertie.

Yes, some days it's just great to be a former Taoiseach. But then a passing car slows and the driver sticks his head out the window to roar "bleedin' robber".

It's far from plain sailing for the infamous Drumcondra Mafia these days, with Cyprian and his party colleague Mary Fitzpatrick in an intense battle that could see them both losing out on a seat.

Before we hit the pavements, I'm invited into the constituency office St Luke's, where Cyprian relaxes into the sumptuous furniture under a portrait of Bertie Ahern.

He then sets about dispelling the "myth" about the "mafia", and as for his much-publicised rivalry with Cllr Fitzpatrick, he dismisses it with a casual wave, insisting that "there's no animosity, no conflict".

Out on the streets, Bertie concedes that the battle ahead will be "a tough one".

Yet the rapturous reception he receives on some doorsteps leads one to think that he's still got this constituency, or parts of it at least, firmly wrapped up.


When Cyprian arrives at Annie Ward's door, she immediately spots Bertie down the street and calls for an audience with him. "You might look after us on the day?" Cyprian asks, and she nods.

Down the street, Pakistan native Heroon Nawab can't resist whipping out his camera phone when Bertie ambles into view.

"We can't vote but it's a pleasure to get our picture taken with Bertie," he tells me.

Not much use to Cyprian then.

As we cross over to the next road, Cyprian narrowly avoids getting pinned under the wheels of a truck, with the grinning driver announcing: "If I thought it was Bertie I would've knocked him down."

Yes indeed, some days you gotta take the rough with the smooth.


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