A senior member of the Saudi Arabian government was reported to have been “quite displeased” after it emerged the crown prince’s gifts from the government had become an issue in the Irish media, state papers have revealed.
Then taoiseach Charlie Haughey had given crown prince Abdullah a number of gifts during his visit to Ireland in June 1989.
In a confidential note, it emerged that Saudi official Dr Nizar Madani had asked the Irish ambassador how they had become an issue in the press here in Ireland.
The note stated: “Dr Madani said they had received reports from the ambassador in London on the matter and in a tone of rebuke added that they were quite displeased that the gifts should have become an issue of controversy.
He told me lest we were in any doubt that the gifts were intended to be personal and if it would help to end the controversy we could say that.
Officials were advised on what type of gift to give the crown prince, and were told to avoid religious emblems, anything made of pigskin, or any representation of the human or animal figure.
Gifts given to the Saudi delegation included Waterford glass, Celtic weave china, Dublin Crystal millennium ashtrays, as well as the books The Land Of Ireland and Dublin Be Proud. It was suggested the crown prince should be given the “complete facsimile edition of the earlier surviving Naskhi Quran [Koran]” and the unique Ibn Al-Bawwab manuscript from the Chester Beatty Library.