Tony Gregory’s death comes straight out of the blue for me - as, from down here in France, I wasn’t even aware he was ill. World by Storm over at Cedar Lounge has posted far more eloquently than I ever will on Tony and his leaving us : ‘Tony Gregory’ by WBS especially so as he had travelled some part of the road with the man (starting out on the East Wall Road).
There is a sad irony that just as economic circumstance forces us to all of a sudden remember that times like the early eighties ever happened at all - Tony Gregory passing away will bring us to reflect on the Gregory Deal. If ever there was a Mephistolean bargain struck - this was the one. Even as a 12 year old, I was a bit miffed that out of 166 TDs elected - just one could hold so much sway. In retrospect, I had to concede that no constituency ever did (or ever will) need it more. I suppose it was somewhat akin to a lottery win or that once in a lifetime treble bet that comes up. Except that the no. 1 gangster didn’t hold onto power long enough to make all the pay out - and the selfsame constituency returned the no. 2 gangster every election since.
Not wishing to be lacking in charity or anything - but a few seconds reflecting on the career of the same Mr. Ahern is sufficient for me to measure the immense value of what Tony Gregory brought to us. Compare and contrast, I think they spoonfed us in the Leaving…
I don’t wish him on God’s right hand side (as they say as Gaeilge) - but on the left hand of Larkin and Connolly - he’d probably be more comfortable there.