'When he was good, he was very, very good. When he was bad, he was forgiven'
In the days when Bertie Ahern was a fledgling accounts clerk, a sickly-sweet movie gave Irish men and women a new line. "Love means never having to say you're sorry" was bad advice, but it had sticking power. Say it straight and you could sound sincere.
Who knows if young Ahern heard the words when he took young Miriam Kelly to see the film Love Story on one of their first dates? Because something of the tearjerky sentiment survived this week when Bertie told the nation he was leaving, so that the business of Government could go on.
"I know in my heart of hearts that I have done no wrong and wronged no one," he said through quivering lips. "I want everyone to understand one truth above all else. Never, in all the time I have served in public life, have I put my personal interest ahead of the public good."