Liverpool introduced the Irish-theme pub to England 20 years ago. On St Patrick's Day Peter Elson meets two of the men best known for the idea's success

THEY say there's no such thing as bad publicity and when Bob Burns opened England's first Irish-themed pub, Flanagan's Apple, Ireland was certainly in the news.

Unfortunately, it was 1984 and the Irish troubles were continuously on the front pages. Mr Burns, who has been long involved in the Liverpool pub business, recalls: "It was a very dubious proposition. It was the height of the troubles and the police were not very keen.