Saturday 17 March 2018

‘Pints thrown’ at pub’s painting of CJ Haughey

Oliver MacDonnell sits in front of the portrait of the late Charlie Haughey in his bar, Dick Mack's, in Dingle
Oliver MacDonnell sits in front of the portrait of the late Charlie Haughey in his bar, Dick Mack's, in Dingle

HE remains at the centre of controversy even in death and no more so than in his local pub in his beloved Kerry.

The owner of a Dingle bar has refused to remove a portrait of Charles Haughey from his world-famous hostelry despite it coming in for a hostile reaction, including attempts to throw pints at it.

Visitors and tourists from around the world come to drink in Dick Mack's iconic pub on Greene Street. But many voice their disquiet about having to sup their pints opposite a print of the late Fianna Fail Taoiseach proudly displayed behind the counter.

Recently, the portrait was lucky to survive after a customer threw his pint at it and the owner admits it can be controversial.

"Some people come in and aren't happy to find Charlie here at all," owner Oliver MacDonnell said.

"In fact over the summer one guy tried to throw a pint over the picture. He didn't like it being here at all and went wild when he saw it."

Despite this, the Kerry publican has vowed the portrait of CJ Haughey will remain in the pub where he was once a regular.

"I knew Charlie Haughey and found him to be a good man who helped many people. He came here regularly when he was alive and was well liked.

"I knew him to be a good man so I won't be taking his picture down, or removing it from my bar on a point of principle," added Mr MacDonnell whose family have run the bar since it opened in 1899.

Despite tribunals and evidence of corruption, Mr Haughey remains a venerated figure in Dingle where the people of the town remain steadfast in their support of the politician who passed away in 2006.

The former Taoiseach owned Inishvickillane island, one of the Blaskets, and in a long-standing engagement opened the Dingle regatta every year for 38 years. Son Conor Haughey took the role over from his father in 2001 with other members of the Haughey family on hand to present prizes at the Dingle Regatta each August.

In 2005 a bronze bust of Haughey was unveiled on Dingle Pier by local fishermen in recognition of the politician's contribution to the development of the harbour. And for the future, Charlie will remain looking down on all who enter Dick Mack's.

By Ken Sweeney

Irish Independent

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