Tuesday 30 May 2017

Veteran Irish Independent photographer Tom Burke vividly remembers the 1970 visit of President Richard M Nixon

CIARAN BYRNE

Tom joined the staff of the Irish Independent in 1967 and 41 years later, he will be on hand to cover President Obama's visit to Ireland.

He recalled how in 1970, just seven years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, President Nixon was able to wave at the Irish crowds - through the sun roof of his car.

When this Irish Independent picture was taken, the presidential party near Christchurch after returning from Timahoe, Co Kildare.

Eggs were thrown - probably by anti-Vietnam war protestors - which spalttered the windscreen of the president's car.

"There were a lot of people on the footpaths. We were coming down towards Dublin Castle," said Tom, who was among a string of photographers on a flatbed truck, inching along in front of Nixon's car.

Such arrangements would be unimaginable in today's security concious climate and would not be sanctioned by the Secret Service detail.

"These were different times," added Tom. "We were allowed to stand on the back of the truck taking pictures of the president.

"The Gardai were driving the truck. Of course these days you wouldn't get near a leader like that."

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