The lady who sold me my Irish Times this morning certainly didn’t have much time for Charlie Haughey, former Taoiseach. And nor did I. David McKittrick writing in this morning’s Independent says he was Ireland’s Richard Nixon. To that I would add that he was more like Ireland’s Silvio Berlusconi. It is offensive that such a man should be given a state funeral. His financial corruption was comprehensively established – but, like General Pinochet, he always seemed to be too ill to answer to it. He was lucky to escape prison. He was sacked from the Irish Government on allegations of gun-running for the IRA but staged a remarkable come-back. To me he simply expresses all that was most wrong with the old Ireland – a moral ambiguity about both violence and finance. In many ways, this state [of which I am a citizen] has made huge progress – becoming a prosperous, modern, european state – and some claim that he played his part in laying the foundations of that. I find that difficult. This is an unfortunate throw-back to the past.