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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019

Helicopter rides and cigars: Here's what dinner with Charlie Haughey was like in 1987

A touch of class from our former taoiseach.

The frontpage of the programme for the 'Dinnéar An Taoisigh'
The frontpage of the programme for the 'Dinnéar An Taoisigh'

IT’S CHRISTMAS 1987 and what better way to spend it then having dinner with the Taoiseach.

This week the outstanding Irish Election Literature published a programme produced by Cairde Fáil – friends of Fianna Fáil – for a Christmas dinner held in the Burlington Hotel in December 1987.

‘Dinnéar An Taoisigh’ looked like a fabulous night altogether with a slap-up meal, a raffle, and cigars.

The programme includes a big picture of our then dashing Taoiseach as well as a list of top raffle prizes:


Top of the bill is a a holiday for two in the exotic European cities of Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg including dinner with the party’s MEPs.

There’s also a number of other prizes on offer including:

  • a ‘high-tech’ video recorder with an autographed copy of ‘Charles Haughey’s Ireland’
  • a case of champagne
  • a crate of vintage wine
  • a Waterford Crystal voucher
  • a selection of best-selling cassette tapes, including a copy of ‘The Spirit of the Nation’ – the speeches of Charles Haughey
  • a man’s suit from Louis Copeland 
  • a new Calor cooker with a turkey voucher – just in time for Christmas. 
  • a pre-Celtic Tiger helicopter trip from Dublin to the French restaurant Le Jardin where, after a Sunday lunch, you will be chaffeur driven back to the capital. Posh, or what? 


The menu for the evening is a sight to behold with minestrone soup to start, beef for the main with horseradish sauce, broccoli ‘au beurre’ (‘with butter’ for the uneducated amongst you), carrots vichy and creamed potatoes.

For dessert there is fresh fruit meringue followed by tea and coffee and of course, cigars.

The programme booklet includes a full page for your autographs from Fianna Fáil ministers and the like but alas it is unfilled in this particular copy of the programme.

Hat tip to Irish Election Literature 

Read: Haughey government decided ministers should get a safe and shredder in their homes

Read: Charles Haughey wanted to meet Saddam Hussein in 1978 – Saddam declined

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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