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Thursday 19 January 2017

Mary says kiss that set tongues wagging is okay

Published 20/03/2011 | 05:00

It was an embrace that got a nation talking.

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What was businessman David Harvey thinking of when he embraced President Mary McAleese so affectionately at the start of the St Patrick's Day parade?

The chairman of the St Patrick's Day Festival and television channel founder kissed President McAleese on both cheeks as he welcomed her to the parade viewing stand in front of thousands of people.

It was a public gesture more Galllic than Gaelic. Most heads of state confine their greetings to a formal handshake -- especially the female ones. "Was it appropriate? Did it break protocol?" we all asked ourselves.

Mr Harvey, chairman of the committee that turned St Patrick's Day into a week-long celebration, was certainly in the spirit of the 'friendly Irish' when he bestowed a warm embrace and two kisses on the President, as opposed to the more reverential handshake associated with such greetings.

But it appears no harm was done. According to Mrs McAleese's spokeswoman, no protocol was broken and no offence was taken by Mr Harvey's exuberance.

But just don't try it on with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth when she comes -- no matter how well you think you know her.

Sunday Independent

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