Charles James "Charlie"
Haughey ( ; 16 September 1925 ‚Äď 13 June 2006) was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving three terms in office; from December 1979
to June 1981, March 1982 to December 1982 and March 1987 to
Haughey, one of the most controversial of
Irish politicians in the 20th century, was the fourth leader of
, from 1979 until 1992.
He died of prostate cancer
age of eighty.
Charles Haughey was first elected to D√°il √Čireann
as a Teachta D√°la
(TD) for Dublin
in 1957, and was re-elected in each election until
1992. Haughey also served as Minister for Health and Social Welfare
(1977‚Äď1979), Minister for Finance (1966‚Äď1970), Minister for
Agriculture (1964‚Äď1966) and Minister for Justice (1961‚Äď1964). He
also served as a Parliamentary Secretary
the early years of his parliamentary career. Haughey is credited by
some economists as starting the positive transformation of the
economy in the late 1980s. However, revelations about his personal
finances and lifestyle destroyed his reputation after he retired
Haughey was born in Castlebar, County
Mayo in 1925, the third of seven children of John
Haughey and Sarah McWilliams, both natives of Swatragh,
County Londonderry, Catholic nationalists
in what would become part of Northern Ireland.
Haughey's father was in the Irish Republican Army
Irish War of Independence
then in the army
of the Irish Free State
. His father left the
army in 1928 and the family moved to County Meath. His father developed multiple sclerosis and the family moved
to Donnycarney, where Haughey spent his youth.
educated by the Irish
Christian Brothers at St. Joseph's secondary school
in Fairview, where one
of his classmates was George Colley,
subsequently his cabinet colleague and rival in Fianna F√°il.
In his youth, Haughey
was an amateur sportsman, playing Gaelic
with the Parnell GAA Club in Donnycarney.
read Commerce at University College Dublin (UCD) where he took a First Class Honours degree in
It was at UCD that Haughey became increasingly
interested in politics and was elected Auditor of the Commerce and
Economics Society. He also met there with one of his future
political rivals, Garret
He joined the
Local Defence Force
during The Emergency
of 1939‚Äď1945 and
considered a permanent career in the Army
. He continued to serve with the Army Reserve
through its transition to
the F.C.√Ā.. until entering the D√°il
VE-day Haughey and other UCD
students burned the British Union Jack on
Green, outside Trinity College, Dublin, in response to a perceived disrespect afforded the
Irish tricolour among the flags hung by the College in celebration
of the Allied victory which ended World War
II. A young Turk full of overweening ambition
The Irish Times
qualified as a Chartered
Accountant and also attended King's Inns subsequently being called to the Irish Bar.
Shortly afterwards he set up the
accountancy firm of Haughey, Boland & Company with Harry Boland
(son of Gerry Boland).
On 18 September 1951 he married Maureen
, the daughter of the Fianna
Minister and future Taoiseach
, having been close to
her since their days at UCD, where they first met. They had four
children together ‚Äď Eimear, Conor, Ciar√°n and Se√°n
selling his house in Raheny, in 1969
Haughey bought Abbeville, located
at Kinsealy, north County Dublin, an historic house ‚ÄĒ once owned by Anglo-Irish politician John Beresford (d.
for whom it had been extensively re-designed by the architect
in the late 18th century.
Haughey purchased its existing estate of approximately 250 acres
at the same time. It became the family home and
he lived there for the rest of his life.
First forays into politics
Haughey's first attempt at election to the D√°il
came in June 1951, when he
unsuccessfully contested the general election
Constituency of Dublin North East. While living in Raheny, Haughey
was first elected to D√°il in 1957. He started his political career
as a local councillor, first failing in a by-election to D√°il √Čireann
. On his fourth attempt
at election, in the 1957
he succeeded, being elected to the D√°il as a
TD. Haughey obtained
his first government position, that of Parliamentary Secretary to
the Minister for Justice, and his constituency colleague, Oscar Traynor
, in 1960.
It is unclear whether the choice was made by Lemass directly as
, or by the cabinet against his
wishes. Lemass had advised Haughey;
As Taoiseach it is my duty to offer you the post of
parliamentary secretary, and as your father-in-law I am advising
you not to take it.
Haughey ignored Lemass's advice and accepted the offer. Though as
the junior to Oscar Traynor
was the de facto
minister. Haughey and
Traynor clashed openly. Defenders of Mr Haughey portray the
disagreement as being due to his ability and radical ideas, which
were upsetting for the more conservative older minister. When
Traynor retired in 1961, Haughey succeeded him as Minister for
Haughey came to epitomise the new style of politician ‚ÄĒ the "men in
the mohair suits". He regularly socialised with other younger
Cabinet colleagues such as Donogh
and Brian Lenihan
By day he impressed the D√°il.
By night he basked in the admiration of a
fashionable audience in the Russell Hotel.
There, or in Dublin's more expensive restaurants,
the company included artists, musicians and entertainers,
professionals, builders and business people.
His companions, Lenihan and O'Malley, took mischievous delight
in entertaining the Russell with tales of the Old Guard.
O'Malley in turn entertained the company in Limerick's Brazen
Head or Cruise's Hotel with accounts of the crowd in the
Russell. On the wings of such tales Haughey's reputation
Haughey in his post as Minister for
, initiated an extensive scale of legislative reforms.
He introduced new legislation including the Succession Act, which
protected the inheritance rights of wives and children, 'Irish solutions for Irish problems'
obituary. and the Extradition Act. Haughey also
introduced the Special Military Courts which helped to defeat the
. Haughey was considered a reforming Minister for
Justice.In 1962 Lemass appointed Haughey as Minister for
Agriculture. Criticism from the National Farmers Association (NFA)
of the appointment of a non-rural person to head Irish agriculture
was voiced, and led to increased antagonism from farmers towards
the government.Haughey became embroiled in a series of
controversies with the NFA (National Farmers Association) and
another organisation, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association
(ICMSA). 27 ICSMA picketers outside Leinster
House (the parliament building) were arrested on the 27
April 1966 under the Offences Against the State Act, an
Act usually reserved for use against terrorists.
78 were arrested the following
day, and 80 a day later, as the dispute escalated. This was an
excessive step against farmers who were protesting on issues
affecting their economic livelihood. The general public was
supportive of the farmers, who were not in a position to hold a
strike to air their grievances, and who were clearly only posing a
problem to the minister, rather than the state. The farmers for
their part, now started a national solidarity campaign, where even
farmers who supported Fianna F√°il, turned stubbornly against the
government. Haughey, who did not rely on rural voters, was under
intense pressure from fearful members of his own party to negotiate
a deal and de-escalate tension. Eventually Haughey backed down from
the confrontation, for electoral reasons connected to the imminent
presidential election. It was Haughey's first alienation of a
significant voting block, and probably damaged him electorally in
later years as many farmers remembered the events, known in folk
memory as the 'Farmers Strike'.
1966 presidential campaign
Haughey played a controversial role in the 1966 Irish presidential
. He had been appointed the Fianna F√°il campaign
manager, to run President de
's re-election campaign. His interventions proved highly
controversial. Fine Gael
chose a young
(nephew of Kevin
) to run against de Valera. Aware that de
Valera's age (84) and almost total blindness might compare
unfavourably to O'Higgins, whose campaigns drew comparisons with
the equally youthful late United States president of Irish descent, John F. Kennedy, Haughey launched what was
seen as a political stroke.
He insisted that it was beneath
the presidency to actively campaign, meaning that de Valera would
have a low profile. Therefore in the interests of fairness the
media was recommended to also give O'Higgins a low profile,
ignoring his speeches and publicity campaign. However the print
media, both nationally and locally ignored Haughey's suggestion.
state-run Telif√≠s √Čireann, facing criticism from Lemass' government for being
too radical in other areas, agreed and largely ignored the
In reality de Valera got a high media profile from a different
source, the Fiftieth Anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising
, of which he was the most senior
survivor. While O'Higgins's campaign was ignored by RT√Č, de Valera
appeared in RT√Č coverage of the Rising events regularly. To add
further to de Valera's campaign, Haughey as Agriculture Minister
arranged for milk price increases to be given to farmers on the eve
of polling, as a way of reducing farmer disquiet, when the farmers
had effectively become an opposition movement to the
These tactics should have ensured an easy de Valera victory.
Instead O'Higgins came to within less than one percent of winning
the vote. The President was re-elected by a narrow margin of ten
thousand votes out of a total of nearly one million. De Valera
personally developed a highly negative view of Haughey, whom he
came to distrust. In 1970 de Valera told Desmond O'Malley
(now a rival of Haughey)
that Haughey would "destroy" Fianna F√°il. De Valera's minister for
Foreign Affairs and lifelong political confidant Frank Aiken
also dismissed Haughey's political
motives as being entirely selfish, and being motivated to hold
power for its own sake and not duty.
In 1966 the Taoiseach
, Se√°n Lemass
retired. Haughey declared his
candidature to succeed Lemass in the consequent leadership
. George Colley
did likewise. With three
strong candidates with strong and divisive views on the future of
the party, the party elders sought to find a compromise candidate.
Lemass himself, encouraged his Minister for Finance
, Jack Lynch
, to contest the party leadership.
Lemass also encouraged Colley, Haughey and Blaney to withdraw in
favour of Lynch, realising that they would not win the contest.
However, Colley refused the Taoiseach's request and insisted on
remaining in the race, but he was defeated by Lynch. Upon Lynch's
election as Taoiseach, Haughey was appointed Minister for Finance
by Lynch in a Cabinet reshuffle
which indicated that Haughey's withdrawal was a gain at the expense
of Colley. Again Haughey showed a brilliant and radical streak. The
inexpensive and socially inclusive initiatives caught the public
imagination including popular decisions to introduce free travel on
public transport for pensioners, subsidise electricity for
pensioners, the granting of special tax concessions for the
disabled and tax exemptions for artists. This increased Haughey's
populist appeal, and his support from certain elements in the media
and artistic community.
1960s saw the old tensions boil over into an eruption of violence
Ireland. Haughey was generally seen as coming from
the pragmatist wing of the party, and was not believed to have
strong opinions on the matter, despite having family links with
Indeed many presumed that he had a strong
to physical force Irish
; during his period as Minister for Justice he had
followed a tough anti-IRA line, including using internment
without trial against the IRA. The
in the cabinet were seen as Kevin Boland
, both sons of founding fathers in the party with strong
pasts. Blaney was a TD for
They were opposed by those described as the
"doves" of the cabinet; T√°naiste
, George Colley
and Patrick Hillery
. A fund of ¬£100,000 was set
up to give to the Nationalist people in the form of aid. Haughey as
Finance Minister would have a central role in the management of
There was general surprise when, in an incident known as the
, Haughey, along
with Blaney, was sacked from Lynch's cabinet amid allegations of
the use of the funds to import arms for use by the IRA
leader Liam Cosgrave
was informed by
the Garda that a plot to import arms existed and included
government members. Cosgrave told Lynch he knew of the plot and
would announce it in the D√°il next day if he didn't act. Lynch
requested Haughey and Blaney submit their resignations to the
President. Both men refused, saying they did nothing illegal. Lynch
then asked the President to terminate their appointments as members
of the government. Boland resigned in sympathy, while the alcoholic
was dismissed one day earlier in a preemptive strike to
ensure a subservient Minister for Justice was in place when the
crisis broke. Lynch chose government chief whip Desmond O'Malley
for the role. Haughey and Blaney were subsequently tried in court
along with an army Officer, Captain James Kelly
, and Albert Luykx
, a former Flemish National Socialist
and businessman, who
allegedly used his contacts to buy the arms. After trial all the
accused were acquitted but many refused to recognise the verdict of
the courts. Although cleared of wrong-doing, it looked as if
Haughey's political career was finished. Blaney and Boland left
Fianna F√°il but Haughey remained. He knew that he would never
achieve the top job of Taoiseach
left, and so he remained a backbencher and worked from within the
party to achieve his goals. He spent his years on the backbenches -
the wilderness years - building support within the grassroots of
the party, during this time he remained loyal to the party and
served the leader but after the debacle of the "arms crises"
neither man trusted the other.
Political return: a medley of triumph and defeat
In 1975 Fianna F√°il was in opposition and Haughey had achieved
enough grassroots support to warrant a recall to Jack Lynch
's opposition Bench. At the time Lynch
was harshly criticised in the media for this. Haughey was appointed
Spokesman on Health & Social Welfare, a fairly minor portfolio
at the time, but Haughey used the same imagination and skill he
displayed in other positions to formulate innovative and far
reaching policies. Two years later in 1977 Fianna F√°il returned to
power with a massive parliamentary majority in D√°il √Čireann
, having had a very
populist campaign (spearhead by Colley and O'Malley) to abolish
rates, vehicle tax and other extraordinary concessions, which were
short-lived. Haughey returned to the Cabinet
after an absence of seven years as
Health & Social Welfare
In this position he continued the progressive policies he had shown
earlier by, among others, beginning the first government
anti-smoking campaigns and legalising contraception, previously
banned. Following the finding by the Supreme Court in McGee v The
Attorney General that there was a constitutional right to use
contraceptives, he introduced The Family Planning Bill which proved
to be highly controversial. The bill allowed a pharmacist to sell
contraceptives on presentation of a medical prescription. Haughey
called this bill "an Irish solution to an
". It is often stated that the recipient of the
prescription had to be married, but the legislation did not include
It was also during this period that Lynch began to lose his grip on
the party, the economy faltered in the aftermath of energy crises
and the fallout from the giveaway concessions that had re-elected
the government under Lynch, led to a succession race to succeed
Lynch. As well as this a group of backbenchers began to lobby in
support of Haughey. This group, known as the "gang of five,"
consisted of Jackie Fahey
, Tom McEllistrim
, Mark Killilea, Jnr
and Albert Reynolds
In December 1979 Lynch announced his resignation as Taoiseach
and leader of Fianna F√°il
. The leadership
that resulted was a two-horse race between Haughey and
, George Colley
. Colley had the support of the
entire Cabinet, with the exception of Michael O'Kennedy
, and felt that this
popularity would be reflected within the parliamentary party as a
Haughey on the other hand was distrusted by a number of his Cabinet
colleagues but was much more respected by new backbenchers who were
worried about the safety of their D√°il seats. When the vote was
taken Haughey emerged as the victor by a margin of 44 votes to 38,
a very clear division within the party. In a conciliatory gesture,
Colley was re-appointed as T√°naiste
and had a veto over who Haughey would appoint as Ministers for
Justice and Defence respectively. This was due to his distrust of
Haughey on security issues (i.e. Arms Crisis). However, he was
removed from the important position of Minister for Finance.
Nonetheless, on 11 December 1979, Charles Haughey was elected
and leader of Fianna F√°il
, almost a decade after the Arms
Crisis nearly destroyed his political career.
When Haughey came to power, the country was sinking into a deep
economic crisis, following the 1979
. Haughey effectively acted as his own Minister
for Finance, ignoring the views of his minister. One of his first
functions as Taoiseach was a speech to the nation in which he
outlined the bleak economic picture:
While Haughey had identified the problem with the economy he did
the exact opposite of what he said he would do. He increased public
spending, which soon became out of control, and led to increases in
borrowing and taxation at an unacceptable level. By 1981 Haughey
was still reasonably popular and decided to call a general
election. However, the timing of the election was thwarted twice by
external events, in particular the hunger
men for political status. In the Stardust Disaster, a fire destroyed a night club in Haughey's
constituency and claimed the lives of 48 young people.
Haughey delayed the Ard Fheis and the election. The poll was eventually held in
, much later than Haughey wanted. In the hope of winning an
overall D√°il majority Haughey's campaign took a populist line with
regard to taxation, spending and Northern Ireland. The campaign was
enhanced and hyped up by a live debate on RT√Č between
Haughey and the Fine Gael leader, Garret FitzGerald, over the major
On the day of the vote Fianna F√°il won 45.5%.
Failing to secure a majority in the 166-seat D√°il a Fine Gael
coalition came to power under FitzGerald and Haughey went
Within days of his becoming Taoiseach, Allied Irish Banks
¬£400,000 of a ¬£1,000,000 debt. No reason was given for this.
obituary on Haughey (24
June 2006) asserted that he had warned the bank "I can be a very
FitzGerald's government lasted until January 1982 when it collapsed
due to a controversial budget which proposed the application of
Value Added Tax to children's shoes, previously exempt.
FitzGerald, no longer having a majority in
the D√°il, went to √Āras an Uachtar√°in to advise President Hillery to dissolve the D√°il and call a
However, the night the government
collapsed the Fianna F√°il Front Bench issued a statement
encouraging the President not to grant the dissolution and to allow
Fianna F√°il to form a government. Phone calls were also made to the
President by Brian Lenihan
Haughey, on attempting to contact his former colleague, the
President and on failing to be put through to the President was
reported to have threatened the President's aide de camp
by telling him that he would be
Taoiseach one day and when that happened, I intend to roast
your fucking arse if you don't put me through
A biography of Hillery
Haughey for the sex scandal rumours which almost destroyed the
Presidency of Hillery in 1979.
After the February
, when Haughey failed to win an overall majority
again, questions were raised about his leadership. Some of
Haughey's critics in the party suggested that an alternative
candidate should stand as the party's nominee for Taoiseach
emerged as the likely alternative candidate and was
ready to challenge Haughey for the leadership. However, on the day
of the vote O'Malley withdrew and Haughey went forward as the
nominee. He engineered a deal with the Independent Socialist TD,
, and three Workers' Party
TDs, which saw him
return as Taoiseach for a second time.
Haughey's second term was dominated by even more economic
mismanagement, based on Haughey's policy of using government policy
and money, in an effort to induce a sufficiently large share of the
electorate to vote him his elusive 'overall majority' in the
national assembly. With Haughey now in pursuit of the law of the
lowest common denominator in every area of policy, and refusing to
address serious shortcomings in the performance of the state, a
growing minority in his own party were becoming increasingly
concerned. The issue of his leadership cropped up again when in
October the backbench TD, Charlie
, put down a motion of no-confidence in Haughey.
Desmond O'Malley disagreed with the timing but supported the hasty
motion of no confidence all the same. O'Malley resigned from the
Cabinet prior to the vote as he was going to vote against Haughey.
A campaign now started that was extremely vicious on the side of
Haughey's supporters, with threats made to the careers of those who
dissented from the leadership. After a marathon 15 hour party
meeting, Haughey, who insisted on a roll-call as opposed to a
secret ballot, and won the open ballot by 58 votes to 22. Not long
after this, Haughey's government collapsed when the Workers' Party
and Tony Gregory withdrew their support for the government over a
Fianna F√°il policy document called "The Way Forward," which would
lead to massive spending cuts. Fianna F√°il lost the November 1982 election
and FitzGerald once again returned as Taoiseach with a comfortable
D√°il majority. Haughey found himself back in opposition.
During this tenure of Haughey, the GUBU
, involving the Attorney General
Government, occurred in Dublin. At a press-conference on the
affair, Haughey was paraphrased as having described the affair as
"grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented"
which journalist and former politician Conor Cruise O'Brien
coined the term
Haughey's leadership came under scrutiny for a third time when a
report linked Haughey with the phone tapping of political
. In spite of huge pressure Haughey refused to
resign and survived yet another vote of no-confidence in early
1983, albeit with a smaller majority. (Haughey's success was partly
due to the death of the Fianna F√°il TD, Clement Coughlan
, which caused the momentum
in the anti-Haughey faction to drop considerably). Having failed
three times to oust Haughey, most of his critics gave up and
returned to normal politics.
In May 1984 the New-Ireland Forum Report was published. Haughey was
involved in the drafting of this at the time he was in office and
had agreed to potential scenarios for improving the political
situation of Northern Ireland. However on publication, Haughey
rejected it and said the only possible solution was a United
Ireland. This statement was criticised by the other leaders who
forged the New-Ireland Forum, John Hume
Garret FitzGerald and Dick Spring
Desmond O'Malley supported the Forum report and criticised
Haughey's ambiguous position, accusing him of stifling debate. At a
Fianna F√°il Parliamentary Party meeting to discuss the report, the
whip was removed from O'Malley, which meant he was no longer a
Fianna F√°il TD. Ironically when Haughey returned to power he
embraced the Anglo-Irish
that had developed from the New-Ireland Forum
In early 1985 a bill was introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour
government to liberalise the sale of contraceptives in the country.
in opposition opposed
the bill. O'Malley supported it as a matter of principle rather
than a political point to oppose for opposition's sake. On the day
of the vote O'Malley spoke in the D√°il chamber stated:
But I do not believe that the interests of this State or our Constitution and of this Republic would be served by putting politics before conscience in regard to this .... I stand by the Republic and accordingly, I will not oppose this Bill. .
He abstained rather than vote with the government. Despite this
Haughey moved against O'Malley and in February 1985, O'Malley was
charged with "conduct un-becoming".. At a Party Meeting, even
though O'Malley did not have the Party whip, he was expelled from
the Fianna F√°il organisation by 73 votes to 9 in roll-call vote.
With George Colley dead, O'Malley
expelled and other critics silenced, Haughey was finally in full
control of Fianna F√°il.
O'Malley decided to form a new political party and 21 December
1985, Desmond O'Malley announced the formation of the Progressive Democrats. Several Fianna
F√°il TDs joined including Mary Harney
and Bobby Molloy.
In November 1985 the Anglo-Irish
Agreement was signed between Garret FitzGerald and British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
agreement gave the Republic of Ireland a formal say in Northern Ireland and its affairs. As was the case with the
New Ireland Forum Report, the Anglo-Irish Agreement was harshly
criticised by Haughey, who said that he would re-negotiate it, if
re-elected.FitzGerald called a general election for February 1987.
The campaign was dominated by attacks on the government over severe
cuts in the budget and the general mismanagement of the economy.
When the results were counted Haughey had failed once again to win
an overall majority for Fianna F√°il. When it came to electing a
Taoiseach in the D√°il Haughey's position looked particularly
volatile. When it came to a vote the Independent TD Tony Gregory abstained, and Haughey was elected
Taoiseach on the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle.
Haughey now headed a minority Fianna
F√°il government. Fine Gael under
leader Alan Dukes took the unprecedented
move in the famous Tallaght
strategy of supporting the government and voting for it when it
came to introducing tough economic policies. The national debt had
doubled under Fitzgerald so the government introduced budget cuts
in all departments, the cuts were much more severe and effective
than when FitzGerald was in power. The taxation system was
transformed to encourage enterprise and employment. The actions
that were taken by Haughey's government in this period certainly
transformed the economy. One of the major schemes put forward, and
one which would have enormous economic benefits for the country,
was the establishment of the International Financial
Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin.
April 1989 Haughey returned from a trip to Japan, to the news
that the government was about to be defeated in a D√°il vote, which
would result in Haughey having to call a general election.
The government was indeed defeated and Haughey, buoyed up by
opinion polls which indicated the possibility of winning an overall
majority, called a general election for 15 June. The forcing of the
election was one of Haughey's biggest political mistakes. Fianna F√°il ended up losing four seats and
the possibility of forming another minority government looked slim.
For the first time in history a nominee for Taoiseach failed to achieve a majority when a vote
was taken in the D√°il. Constitutionally Haughey was obliged to
resign, however he refused to, for a short period. He eventually
tendered his resignation to President Hillery and remained on as Taoiseach, albeit
in an acting capacity. A full 27 days after the election had taken
place a coalition government was formed between Fianna F√°il and the
Progressive Democrats. It was
the first time that Fianna F√°il had entered into a coalition,
abandoning one of its "core values" in the overwhelming need to
form a government.
Haughey in 1990 had more difficulties. The first half of the year
saw Haughey in a leading role as European statesman when Ireland
held the presidency of the European
Community, which rotates semi-annually between the member
states of the European Union. The
election was disappointing for Haughey with Brian Lenihan, the
T√°naiste, who was nominated as the
party's candidate, being defeated by Mary
Robinson. During the campaign the controversy over the
phone calls made to the √Āras an Uachtar√°in in 1982 urging the then President not to dissolve
the D√°il resurfaced. Lenihan was accused of calling and
attempting to influence the President, who as Head of State is above politics. It is
suggested that Haughey was forced by O'Malley to sack Lenihan in
order to save the government, and
stay on as Taoiseach. This damaged Haughey's standing in the
Haughey's grip on political power began to slip in the autumn of
1991. A series of resignations by chairmen of semi-state companies
and an open declaration by the Minister for Finance,
Albert Reynolds, that he had every
intention of standing for the party leadership if Haughey retired.
Following a heated parliamentary party meeting, Se√°n Power, one of Reynolds's
supporters put down a motion of no-confidence in Haughey. Reynolds
and his supporters were sacked from the government by Haughey, who
went on to win the no-confidence motion by 55 votes to 22.
Haughey's victory was short-lived, as a series of political errors
would lead to his demise as Taoiseach.
Controversy erupted over the attempted appointment of Jim McDaid as Minister for Defence, which saw him
resign from the post before he had been officially installed, under
pressure from O'Malley. Worse was to follow when Se√°n Doherty, the
man who as Minister for
Justice had taken the blame for the phone-tapping scandal of
the early 1980s, went on RT√Č television,
and after ten years of insisting that Haughey knew nothing of the
tapping, claimed that Haughey had known and authorised it.
Haughey denied this, but the Progressive Democrats members of the
government stated that they could no longer continue in government
with Haughey as Taoiseach. Haughey told Desmond O'Malley, the
Progressive Democrats leader, that he intended to retire shortly
but wanted to choose his own time of departure. O'Malley agreed to
this and the government continued.
On 30 January 1992, Haughey retired as leader of Fianna F√°il at a
parliamentary party meeting. He remained as Taoiseach until 11 February when he was succeeded
by the sacked Finance Minister, Albert
Reynolds. In his final address to the D√°il he quoted Othello saying inter alia, "I have done the state
some service, they know it, no more of that." Haughey then returned
to the backbenches before retiring from politics at the 1992 general election. His son,
Se√°n Haughey, was elected at that
election in his father's old constituency. Sean Haughey was
appointed as a Junior Minister in the Department of Education and
Science in December 2006.
Retirement, tribunals and scandal
Despite his professed desire to fade from public attention,
retirement was anything but smooth for the former Taoiseach. A series of political, financial and
personal scandals tarnished his image and reputation in his later
the late 1990s the public were shocked to hear revelations about
his extravagant private life ‚ÄĒ Haughey owned racehorses, a large
motor sailing yacht Celtic Mist, a private
island and a Gandon designed
mansion. Ex-Irish PM Haughey 'took bribes' ‚ÄĒ BBC News article, 19 December 2006. Haughey
was severely ridiculed and criticised when he was found to have
embezzled money that was a subvention to the Fianna F√°il Party;
money that was from central Government's taxpayer's funds for the
operation of a political party and spent large sums of these funds
on Charvet shirts and expensive
dinners in a top Dublin restaurant, while preaching belt-tightening
and implementing budget cuts as a national policy."Mr Haughey
was lambasted for having spent huge sums on tailored shirts and
expensive restaurant meals while simultaneously urging Irish people
to tighten their belts amid economic gloom." Former taoiseach Haughey took millions for favours,
report finds ‚ÄĒ The
Guardian newspaper article, 19 December 2006.
In May 1999, Terry Keane, gossip
columnist and once wife of former Chief Justice, Ronan Keane,
revealed on The Late Late Show
that she and Haughey had conducted a 27-year extramarital affair.
In a move that she subsequently said she deeply regretted, Keane
confirmed that the man she had been referring to for years in her
newspaper column as "sweetie" was indeed Haughey. The revelation on
the television programme shocked at least some of the audience,
including Haughey's son, Se√°n, who
was watching the show. Haughey's wife, Maureen was also said to have been deeply
hurt by the circumstances of the revelation.
McCracken Tribunal in 1997 first
revealed the payments by businessmen to Haughey, and also revealed
that he had held secret offshore bank accounts in the Ansbacher
Bank in the Cayman
Islands. Haughey faced criminal charges for
obstructing the work of the McCracken tribunal. Former PM in court ‚ÄĒ BBC News
article, 6 October 1998. His trial on these charges was postponed
indefinitely after the judge in the case found that he would not be
able to get a fair trial following prejudicial comments by the then
PD leader and T√°naiste Mary Harney.
The subsequent Moriarty Tribunal
delved further into Haughey's financial dealings. In his main
report on Charles Haughey released on 19 December 2006, Mr. Justice
Moriarty made the following findings:
- Haughey was paid more than IR¬£8
million between 1979 and 1986 from various benefactors and
businessmen, including ¬£1.3 million from the Dunnes Stores supermarket tycoon Ben Dunne alone. The tribunal described these
payments as "unethical". Haughey payments 'devalued' democracy ‚ÄĒ The
Irish Times newspaper article, 19 December 2006.
- In May 1989 one of Haughey's lifelong friends Brian Lenihan, a
former government minister, underwent a liver transplant which was
partly paid for through fundraising by Haughey. The Moriarty
tribunal found that, of the ¬£270,000 collected in donations for
Brian Lenihan, no more than ¬£70,000 ended up being spent on
Lenihan's medical care. The tribunal identified one specific
donation of ¬£20,000 for Lenihan that was surreptitiously
appropriated by Haughey, who took steps to conceal this
transaction. Haughey severely criticised by Moriarty ‚ÄĒ RT√Č News article, 19 December 2006. Haughey 'misused Lenihan funds' ‚ÄĒ The Irish
Times newspaper article, 19 December 2006.
- The tribunal found evidence of favours performed in return for
money ‚ÄĒ Saudi businessman Mahmoud Fustok paid Haughey ¬£50,000 to
support applications for Irish
- In other evidence of favours performed, the tribunal reported
that Haughey arranged meetings between Ben Dunne and civil servant
Seamus Pairceir of the Revenue
Commissioners. These discussions resulted in an outstanding
capital gains tax bill for Dunne
being reduced by ¬£22.8 million. Moriarty found that this was
"not coincidental", and that it was a substantial benefit
conferred on Dunne by Haughey's actions.Moriarty Tribunal report,
chapter 16: Dunnes Settlement.
- Allied Irish Banks settled a
million-pound overdraft with Haughey soon after he became Taoiseach
in 1979; the tribunal found that the lenience shown by the bank in
this case amounted to an indirect payment by the bank to
The tribunal rejected Haughey's claims of ignorance of his own
financial affairs and Haughey was accused by the tribunal of
Haughey eventually agreed a settlement with the revenue and paid a
total of ‚ā¨ 6.5 million in back taxes and penalties to the Revenue Commissioners in relation to
these donations. Haughey to pay Revenue ‚ā¨5m in tax ‚ÄĒ RT√Č News report, 18 March 2003.
2003 Haughey was forced to sell his large estate, Abbeville, in
Kinsealy in north County
Dublin for ‚ā¨45 million to settle legal fees he had
incurred during the tribunals. He continued to live
at Abbeville and own the island of Inishvickillane off the coast of County Kerry until his death.
Death and funeral
Haughey's attendance before the tribunals had repeatedly been
disrupted by illness.
He died from prostate cancer, which he had suffered from for a decade, on 13 June 2006, at his home.
Haughey received a state
funeral on 16 June 2006. He was buried in St. Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton
Dublin following mass at Donnycarney. The then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern delivered
the graveside oration.
The obsequy was screened live on RT√Č
One and watched by a quarter of a million people. It was
attended by President Mary McAleese,
the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, members of the Oireachtas, many from the world of politics, industry and business.
The chief celebrant was Haughey's brother, Father Eoghan Haughey.
Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, has said that he had
the potential to be one of the best Taoisigh that the country ever
had, had his preoccupation with wealth and power not clouded his
Another former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Historian Diarmaid Ferriter
said,Historian John A Murphy
The following governments were led by Haughey:
- "Fierce spending and tax cuts that began to transform
Ireland from a banana republic into a ‚ÄúCeltic Tiger‚ÄĚ."
Charles Haughey ‚Äď The Economist
obituary, 22 June 2006.
Moriarty Tribunal Report
- The other six children were P√°draig, Se√°n, Eoghan, Bridget,
Maureen and Eithne.
- Carl O'Brien, "Green roots and new shoots - The Family", A
supplement with The Irish Times, 14 June 2006.
- FitzGerald's later wife, Joan O'Farrell, had at one stage dated
- Haughey served with the North Dublin Battalion, becoming
commanding officer of the Donnycarney Platoon F.C.√Ā.
- Ian S. Wood, Ireland During the Second World War,
2003, p. 100 (ISBN 1-84067-418-0)
- Carl O'Brien, "Green roots and new shoots - The Family", A
supplement with The Irish Times, 14 June 2006.
- Sam Smyth, "Four Haughey children will inherit a fortune ‚Äď –Ą30m
(and Blasket island) to be shared", Irish
Independent, 17 June 2006.
Irish Times, Wednesday, 14 June 2006.
- Lemass was Haughey's father-in-law as well as Taoiseach.
Traynor had submitted a list of four names . The first,
Flanagan, had declined, while Lemass had rejected the other
- T. Ryle Dwyer, Short Fellow: A Biography of Charles J.
Haughey (Marino, 1995) p.31.
- Traynor, a minister from the de Valera's era, was elderly and
in poor health, and only nominally running the department.
- Minister for Agriculture, Paddy Smith, had resigned over a
- later called RT√Č
- This attempted contact with the President proved a major
embarrassment to Lenihan subsequently in 1990.
- Finlay, Fergus Snakes and Ladders pub:New Island Books
1998. Haughey told the D√°il that he never insulted an army officer
and he never would. Lenihan in his subsequent account noted that
no-one ever claimed Haughey had insulted an army officer but that
he had threatened him, a subtle but important difference, and that
Haughey never denied threatening the army officer, merely denied
ever insulting an army officer.
Haughey blamed for sex smear against Hillery]
- D√°il √Čireann - Volume 356 - 20 February
- Haughey's horse Flashing Steel won the Irish Grand
National in 1995.
- A Very Public Affair Irish Times article on
speculation about Charles Haughey's private life before Terry Keane
- Haughey to stand trial for obstructing McCracken
Tribunal ‚ÄĒ RT√Č News article, 9 July 1999.
- High Court upholds ruling on Haughey trial ‚ÄĒ RT√Č News
report, 3 November 2000.
- Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Payments to
Politicians and Related Matters
- Betrayal of a friend and of us ‚ÄĒ The
- Haugheys raise ‚ā¨45m from sale of Kinsealy home,
land ‚ÄĒ The Irish Times newspaper article, 14 August
- A lifelong obsession with the pursuit of political
- , Reaction to ex-Taoiseach's death
- 'CONTROVERSIAL' TAOISEACH
- Frank Dunlop, Yes Taoiseach: Irish politics from behind
closed doors (Penguin Ireland, 2004) ISBN 1844880354
- T. Ryle Dwyer, Short Fellow: A Biography of Charles J.
Haughey (Marino, 1994) ISBN 186023142X
- T. Ryle Dwyer, Nice Fellow: A Biography of Jack Lynch
(Marino, 2004) ISBN 1856354016
- T. Ryle Dwyer, Charlie: The political biography of Charles
Haughey (1987) ISBN 071711449X
- Brian Lenihan, For the Record (Blackwater, 1991) ISBN
- P.J. Mara, The Spirit of the Nation. (Fianna
- Raymond Smith, Garret: The Enigma (Aherlow, 1986)
- The most controversial of them all - Irish
- Oireachtas - Members Database