I finally sat down and worked out how to make lirc_mod_mce work with Lucid and lirc 0.8.6. I've written it all up here: http://sites.hedgerows.org.uk/lirc-mod-mce/
In brief, I've built a package containing both the lirc kernel modules and lirc_mod_mce which plays nicely (and works) on lucid, and provided a source tarball if you don't trust my packaging or want it on another os.
Hope this helps,
Ryan Reading gave me a fix for the "stuck keys" problem, and there is now a v0.3.0 of lirc_mod_mce here which contains everything he and I have done.
Excellent work guys! - Thanks in advance!!!