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Saturday 17 November 2018

P and me: Gay points the finger at Flynn

Madness and magic in the air on night of pints and happy returns

LIAM COLLINS

There was something strange in the air on Thursday night -- a kind of divine madness which we need now more than ever.

And among those reunited on the night were Gay Byrne and Padraig 'P' Flynn, the one-time government minister and European Commissioner who famously boasted on the Late Late Show of his "three houses -- in Mayo, Brussels and Dublin."

The two men met for the first time since that memorable night, as Taoiseach Brian Cowen launched Albert Reynolds's memoirs in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin. "He was very well disposed -- he is larger than life and it was very nice to meet up with him and his wife again," said Gay after the encounter.

It was a gathering of the 'old guard' -- the people who used to be referred to as 'the country 'n' western set' -- Albert, P Flynn, and Brian Cowen, who made a lengthy and excellent speech, Paddy Cole, John Hume and many others.

The Taoiseach was introduced by Philip Reynolds, Albert's son, and his family were on hand with their wives and children.

Also present were: Peter Kelly TD; junior minister John Moloney; businessman Des McEvaddy; Paul Allen who helped with the book; Sean Duigan, Albert Reynolds's former press secretary; and Bart Cronin who also worked closely with him.

Of course it was also 'Arthur's Night', a celebration of Arthur Guinness and the pubs of Dublin were bulging from 5.59pm when free drink was dispensed to the thirsty public.

Later on, inside and outside Doheny & Nesbitt, the political classes were mixing well with the drinking classes and the economic classes were banished for the night. Builder Tom Bailey sang along loudly as Frankie Gavin played in the back of the pub.

"I'm the only developer out tonight," he beamed.

But he wasn't.

Down the road in the Merrion Hotel there was more divine madness for the marriage of pundit and writer Eamon Dunphy to his long-time partner, RTE's Jane Gogan.

Best man, senator Shane Ross, author of the soon-to-be launched, The Bankers, was stewarding a motley crew from the hotel to the up-market Patrick Guilbaud's for the nosh. Among them were: developer Sean Mulryan; PJ Mara; and impresario Oliver Barry, who managed to double up on the book launch and the nuptials.

We didn't seen the Marquess Conyngham, who was previously known as Lord Henry Mountcharles, out and about, but we'd like him to know that we didn't hear even one chorus of the Nama song all night.

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