Charles Haughey

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The Independent Online

Reading the wonderful obituary of Charles Haughey [14 June] by Alan Murdoch (which must be a pseudonym for Balzac) brought back a press trip a decade or more past to Dublin, writes Edward Pearce.

We were lavishly irrigated with Guinness, most of mine being passed on to a now pre-eminent BBC journalist who could cope with it. We were entertained at a ceilidh where the singer gave us "the latest, most exciting thing, which has all Dublin by the heels". It concerned the stupid execution by the British of Joseph Plunkett 60 years before. And we were introduced to the Leader of the Opposition.

He shook hands with everyone, and announced delightedly that he had just taken delivery of his new yacht. He then accused Britain of putting her nuclear reactors in Cumbria so that Ireland would catch whatever escaped. One of my colleagues, I think Michael Toner of the Sunday Express (and Co Mayo), turned to me when we left Mr Haughey's office and observed, "Charlie noticed the way you were looking at your hand after he shook it."