Sunday Independent


Irish Independent
1 Aug 2004
Liam Collins

WHEN Albert Reynolds borrows a fiver from a member of the Police
Service of Northern Ireland (PNSI) to get a taxi to IRA man Joe
Cahill's funeral, well, something must be working in the peace

But it isn't working to such an extent that the former RUC men would
actually bring the one-time Taoiseach up to the Republican enclave of
the Falls Road - instead they dropped him at a convenient location
where he could call for a taxi.

While our former Taoiseach's presence at a former terrorist's funeral
may have raised an eyebrow in political circles, the manner of his
getting there was a bit like the peace process itself.

The journey definitely had its ups and downs and a fair share of
hairy moments.

Albert Reynolds's tenure in the Taoiseach's office may have been
short but he left us with the lasting legacy of the peace process and
Fianna Fail's love affair with the Galway Races - because he was
going there long before it was popular, profitable or the preserve of
property developers.

So it was from Galway that he set off last week to attend the funeral
of the IRA hard-man Joe Cahill.

It's a long and rocky road to Belfast and on a potholed road between
Monaghan and the border the car went into a gulley by the side of the
road and, to use the immortal words of Gerry Collins, "burst up" the
radiator of his Mercedes.

The intrepid party made it as far as the nearest petrolstation for a
fill of water and then on to the village of Middletown where they met
their PNSI escorts, who were reluctant to venture into South Armagh.

They travelled in convoy to the outskirts of Belfast where the State
car blew up a head of steam and refused to proceed any further.

The driver was dispatched to Dublin for a replacement car and Albert
travelled on with the Northern Ireland policemen to the city. But the
members of the PNSI, perhaps remembering the fate of some of the
other security services at IRA funerals, declined to actually go on
up the Falls Road itself and dropped Albert off at their barracks
where he was then able to order a taxi.

Albert, who always had a very good head for finance and knowing the
contrariness of some taxi drivers, then asked the taximan, "Do you
take euros?" The driver didn't know, or care, that much about cross-
border co-operation and all that auld guff and replied curtly, "I
don't know what they are."

The former Taoiseach then turned to his PNSI man and borrowed a

After the Cahill funeral, Albert went back to Galway and had a good
week punting on the horses.

"I can well afford to pay it back now," he said with a laugh last

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?