Friday, 22 July 2011

In less horrifying journalistic days?

In 2005 there came with my copy of the Irish Independent a special magazine titled '100 Years in the News 1905 - 2005'. It's a marvelous creation and I never tire of reading it. I often find myself turning there to research some item of yesterday's news or often simply for amusement or to marvel at the wonderful photographs.

Today I mention the publication because within its pages there's a wonderful and insightful story from the pen of the editor Dr Vincent Doyle. It reminds us that there were times (pre-Murdoch) when there was an almost innocent smoke-filled public house romance attached to journalism. The secret whispers were to be found within the racing pages.

Here, briefly, is Dr Doyle's story (the headline is mine) :

The vanity of prominent politicians

Over the years I have always been fascinated by a common trend linking prominent politicians - vanity. I remember one lunch given in the boardroom of this paper . . . by the late John Meagher . . .

Our guests were Charles Haughey . . . and several of his shadow cabinet. After the usual pleasantries he (John Meagher) turned to Charlie Haughey and said: "Now Deputy Haughey have you any questions you would like to ask us?"

. . . Haughey's mood visibly darkened.

The hooded eyes swivelled around in my direction and Haughey growled: "Yes, as a matter of fact I have a question."

"We have just come through a bruising four week election campaign and every time myself or the other fellow* were mentioned in the main headline he was always Garret and I was Haughey. Do you consider that fair and reasonable?"

. . . I explained . . . as the typography and layout . . . only allowed us to use seven to eight letters the name FitzGerald was impossible to fit whereas Haughey fitted just perfectly.

That, I said, is the explanation.

"Well that," thundered Haughey, "takes the f****** biscuit."

The lunch went downhill from there.

*Garret FitzGerald


  1. For some reason that reminds me of the days when I played the piano for school assemblies and we could never sing All things bright and beautiful because we only had 2 4's in the box and that hymn was 444, so we couldn't put the number up on the board.

  2. nothing to beat Irish storytelling in any form

  3. Thanks John, you reminded me of an Irish visit. I'll put it up.

    Oh school assemblies .... nuff said!


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