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BERTIE'S PUB IS CALLING; So Bush will get a short greeting.

Byline: By JOHN KELLY

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern is rushing home from his Paddy's Day White House chat with George W. Bush - so he can drown the Shamrock back in Dublin.

Aides reckon Bass-loving Bertie wants to get back to Fagan's before closing time so he can have a pint with the lads in his favourite watering hole in Drumcondra.

The Toaiseach leaves the White House around noon after presenting President Bush with the traditional bowl of Shamrock.

He then heads straight for Andrew's Airforce base where the Government jet will be on standby to fly him and his aides straight back to Dublin.

An aide said: "He'll be back that night probably to have a pint with the lads in Fagans."

Another said: "He doesn't like hanging around when he goes away, once his business is done he wants to get back home.

"At the start of the day he'll be mixing with the President in Washington and at the end of the day likely having a drink back home in Dublin."

The 3,300 miles trip takes around seven hours and with the five-hour time difference between Washington and Dublin, the Toaiseach would get into Drumcondra around midnight.

Bertie flies to San Jose, California, on March 13 and the following day attends a reception to celebrate the twinning of the city with Dublin.

Bertie helped organise the twinning of the cities when he was Lord Mayor of Dublin in the 80s.

On Wednesday he travels to Washington and attends a lunch on Capitol Hill on Thursday with senior US politicians.

Then on Friday he has an early meeting with Bush and the Shamrock ceremony before heading home.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said: "No exact times have been set for the White House meeting but it is usually early and the Toaiseach will be returning home to Dublin afterwards."

CAPTION(S):

Sensitive soul George Bush has never been offended by Bertie's green offerings
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 26, 2006
Words:324
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