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Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Tom Burke

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Tom Burke

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Tom Burke

Brexit, Donald Trump and great world events - but last week the mandarins at Iveagh House, where the Department of Foreign Affairs stores its fine wines, had other things on their minds. They were busy complaining to the news desk of the Irish Independent that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan had been omitted from the funeral reports of recently deceased figures TK Whitaker and Dermot Gallagher.

We all know that Charlie's father Oliver J, decent man that he was, elevated going to funerals to a political high art. But including or excluding funeral-goers, for whatever reason, is the business of the newspaper and its reporters.

It appears odd, when we're in the eye of a hurricane, that someone in the Department thinks such an omission is a matter of high importance.

*****

Celtic hoofer Michael Flatley wasn't the only one dancing attendance on Donald J Trump last week.

Observers in the foyer of the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road in D4 saw gangs of well-heeled plutocrats troop through the lobby last Tuesday to hear the entertaining Ivan Yates extol the wealth-creating power of The Donald.

You could smell the money when the prosperous clients of Davy stockbrokers, the financial services firm, held a seminar for hand-picked clients to explain that, while the liberal and Hollywood elites hate Donald Trump, he is already making massive returns for canny investors.

The "I don't care about Doonbeg" President, inaugurated last Friday, is also promising to create wealth for those who want to invest in him and his new vision of America.

Remember the tax amnesty of 1993 when Albert Reynolds was Taoiseach? Whether moral or not, it resulted in the repatriation of vast amounts of money and kick-started the boom.

As observers of Washington politics often point out, the new President sets the tone of his administration in the first 60 days. In that period it is expected Trump will begin by cutting corporation tax to 15pc and allowing banks to bring profits held abroad back into America for a one-off 10pc fee. Bloomberg estimates countless billions will be repatriated.

As our politicians often told us, "rising tides lift all boats", and Trump intends to lift ships and even supertankers. It's going to be a roller-coaster ride but looking at the pinstriped suits in the bar of the old Burlo, it looked like the good old days are here again.

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Runners and riders are milling (maybe a bit of an exaggeration) at the start, but there's no sign of the white flag going up for the race to become the editor of the Irish Examiner.

Observers of such things will remember that Tim Vaughan resigned to pursue other interests in early August 2016, but no replacement has yet been found to run the Cork-based newspaper. Interviews have yet to be held to find a successor although editorial consultant Allan Prosser has been editing "de paper" as chief executive Tom Murphy bides his time.

The front runners are well-known but although they're champing at the bit it could be February before the white flag goes up as management agonises over the delicate balance between falling newspaper sales and making real money from its online offering.

*****

When Charlie Haughey decided to introduce free travel for the pensioners, TK Whitaker followed him out of the Dail and told him not to do it. "The Boss" wanted to be popular and didn't really care if he beggared the country in the process, as long as it looked well on his CV.

Paying the full fare on a train to Galway and later Cork recently I found it difficult to get a seat and ended up wedged between an old-age pensioner with dyed orange hair regaling someone on his mobile about his exploits at a tea dance the night before and several other free travellers.

Down the aisle a group of pensioners were on their way to Cork for lunch. I realised that most of the passengers on the train were of the non-paying pensioner class. Fewer than half of those travelling for free are pensioners, its seems from Joe Duffy that the balance includes carers and even those travelling to collect their (free) methadone.

Nothing should be for nothing, but our political classes campaign for a free society, whether it be travel or water. They want the burden for everything to go on the coping classes.

*****

Poor Simon Harris. Even Fianna Fail harks back to the era of lovely Leo. The party put out a press release last week in such a rush that it thought Leo Varadkar was still the Minister for Health.

Sunday Independent