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Padraig Flynn clasped my hand. For once he got to the point. He had been hearing all sorts of stories, all sorts of rumours. He had checked them out with his best contacts in London.The very best. But he still found it hard to believe: “Are you really Manneken Pis?”

I hesitated. The handshake tightened, the watery-blue eyes glistened in anticipation. The Irish commissioner for social policy was not to be denied. Yes, I replied, sheepishly.

All those cheap shots about the Flynnstones, peat bogs, and the Irish economy chuntering along like a leprechaun on steroids flashed through my mind.…

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