Northern Ireland

Charles Haughey's yacht is offered to Irish whale group

The Celtic Mist
Image caption The Celtic Mist was owned by former Irish prime minister Charles Haughey (Picture from RTE)

A yacht sailed by the former Irish prime minister, Charles Haughey, has been offered as a gift to a group dedicated to the conservation of whales and dolphins.

Boat lovers have had the opportunity to purchase the 52ft vessel, the Celtic Mist, in the Isle of Wight for £150,000 since last year.

But there have been no takers for the yacht and Mr Haughey's son Conor said the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group had been invited to come on board.

The Irish Times reports that the details are still subject to negotiation.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said it was looking into sponsorship which could support the boat in terms of research and conservation work.

The steel yacht, which has six berths and four cabins, will have to be surveyed and it is estimated it could cost 20,000 euros (£17,705) a year to maintain.

It was built by a French firm in 1974 and Mr Haughey was its third owner.

The late taoiseach purchased the boat after his previous yacht ran aground off Mizen Head, west Cork.

It was often used in the vicinity of Dingle, County Kerry and Mr Haughey's Blasket island of Inishvickillane.

The Moriarty Tribunal proceedings of the 1990s, heard that Irish businessman Dermot Desmond paid 75,000 euros (£66,394) for the refurbishment of the Celtic Mist.

Mr Haughey died in 2006, at the age of 80, following a career tainted by patronage and corruption that brought him enormous wealth but eventually disgrace.

He was taoiseach for three separate terms between 1979 and 1992, and was widely considered to be the most controversial Irish politician of his generation.

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