Saturday 21 July 2018

Bush's 'no' to peace plan and a quick pint in Bongo's

George Bush and his wife Barbara arriving for their visit to Dublin being greeted by Garrett Fitzgerald and his wife Joan.
George Bush and his wife Barbara arriving for their visit to Dublin being greeted by Garrett Fitzgerald and his wife Joan.
George Bush at his press conference in Dublin Castle alongside Garrett Fitzgerald

US vice-president George Bush flatly ruled out any US-led peace initiative in the North during a 1983 visit to Dublin.

However, Mr Bush described Ireland as "a strong, staunch friend" and said the US would support whatever dialogue emerged between Margaret Thatcher's British government and Dr Garret FitzGerald's (left) administration.

The vice-president's two-day visit in July was the focus of detailed preparation. The Department of Foreign Affairs was so keen to impress Mr Bush that it sought special sanction from the Department of Finance for extra spending.

Permission was granted to buy 23 bottles of champagne for the state reception hosted in Mr Bush's honour by Dr FitzGerald, at a cost of IR£273. It was also granted permission to order 77 bottles of Puligny Montrachet 1980 from Mitchell & Son wine importers for the Dublin Castle lunch. The total cost was IR£857.

The informality of Mr Bush's visit was noted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which recorded that on his way back from the Independence Day party thrown in his honour, Mr Bush stopped off for a drink at 'Bongo' Ryan's pub on Parkgate Street, where he happily chatted with locals.

Irish Independent

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