Charles Haughey dies

The BBC has just announced that the controversial former Irish premier Charles Haughey has died. Initial report here. Brief RTÉ report, and a longer obituary More another obit here Update Statement by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Thanks Michael. And a detailed obituary of his political career in the Guardian. Added Irish Times has extensive coverage [no subs req]

  • J McConnell

    Biffo and others

    CJ’s little pad that he sold for 45 mil’ was bought with the proceeds of a series of illegal and corrupt land deals done in North County Dublin in the late ’60’ and early ’70’s of which the Grange Park deal in Raheny was probably the most notorious.

    He used his position and influence as a government minister to force through a series of rezonings of farms and other non-development land for housing, thereby increasing the value of the land at least twenty fold. He forced through the rezonings by a combination of brown-envelopes, strong arm tactics, and threats to end careers of both politicians and civil servants who tried to stop him. Threats which he did follow through with if given the opportunity.

    CJ was the classic small time con-man who succeeded because he gauged accurately the gullibilities weaknesses and stupidities of his supporters, of those who voted for him, and of his apologists. His contempt for those who fawned over him was palpable, and well deserved. I got the distinct impression that he only really respected those who called him a crook and a fraud and who saw straight through his ‘Boss’ act.

  • Greenflag

    ‘and that was that once Haughey believed something needed to be done he went and got it done. ‘

    Indeed. Contrast Haughey’s achievements with the 40 years of farting around in circles by Northern Ireland’s politicians whose main seems to have been a 67% public sector dependent basket case of an economy and a political farce of comic proportions which pays English taxpayer financed salaries to elected politicians who cannot agree on the spelling of ‘gobshite never mind the chairmanship of a powerless committee!

    Yes we all know that Haughey had his ‘dark side’ . But we also know that at least when he was in power he knew what to do with it for the good of the country .

  • fionn

    greenflag,

    “But we also know that at least when he was in power he knew what to do with it for the good of the country .”

    i fail to see the good, outside the narrow confines of his attitude to north. which i believe was nationalist in appearance for appearances sake.

  • What worries me is that if poor old Marty McG is to get a state funeral, it’s the poor old British taxpayer who’s going to have to, yet again, fork out for Martin’s expenses.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I fail to see the good’

    Here’s some ‘good’ numbers Fionn

    ‘From 1 million at work to 2 million at work is no small net gain .

    From 18% unemployment to 4% unemployment.

    From having a national debt of 130% of GDP in 1984 to 25% of GDP in the 1990’s was no mean achievment . ‘

    Haughey had his faults just like any other politician but he got results .What results have your NI politicians achieved in 40 years ?

    As for being a Nationalist in appearance ? Like every other Irish leader before and since Haughey had to deal with the ‘illegitimate’ 6 county State as best he could . Just look at the record of success of two dozen or more british Secretaries of State in NI since 1969 ?

    CJ called the NI State what it was, what it is and what it can only ever be IMHO.

    As for the begrudgers . Well what have they ever achieved for Ireland ?

  • PaddyReilly on Jun 13, 2006 @ 10:44 PM wrote “Fianna Fáil…the authors of Ireland’s prosperity. However someone on Slugger called Keith M claims that it was his protests that actually reversed emigration, and not Fianna Fáil’s economic policy. Who knows, perhaps history will tell us. “ I don’t think I’m alone in suggesting that the self congratulatory postings of KeithM were getting out of hand. I guess your knowledge of all things in ROI doesn’t extend to Ballyjamesduff, Breffni-men.

    fionn on Jun 14, 2006 @ 12:06 PM wrote “keith,
    there are a LOT of british/irish issues, this i feel is not one of them.
    and i was not suggesting blair or churchill are/were great men, i was simply saying the comparisons are beside the point when it comes to huagheys financial ‘irregularities’ “
    Ouch, KeithM I see your affections are being spurned. Someone doesn’t think that your Churchill was a great man – and you claim that you know everything about the populace of britian and irel.

    J McConnell on Jun 14, 2006 @ 12:18 PM wrote “…he gauged accurately the gullibilities weaknesses and stupidities of his supporters, of those who voted for him, and of his apologists. …” not very complimentary of those who voted for FF during CJ’s tenure. As FF were the largest party at that time then you show contempt for a vast number of citizens of the ROI – typically dismissive of democracy from one who supported the ‘failed entity’.

  • Greenflag

    ‘it’s the poor old British taxpayer who’s going to have to, yet again, fork out for Martin’s expenses. ‘

    Correction . Make that the poor old English taxpayer . Having forked out the better part of 200 billion pounds in ‘subsidies’ and security costs to keep the NI State from economic collapse since it’s foundation in 1920 , I’m sure that John Bull will continue to pay up to keep NI from having to adjust to the living standards and labour productivity level of the Balkan states for a while yet .

  • As Charlie was very much a personality based politico (in the absence of personality in Garret, O’Malley and the obnoxiousness of Maggie), I think Il Duce could be included in the following which was mentioned about Geo Best…

    “….if we want our stars to play like Greek gods, we shouldn’t fret when they behave like Greek gods – horny, violent and amoral.
    I sought instruction from a moral philosopher about this role model humbug. David Archard, Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at Lancaster University, said the concept of positive moral influence exercised by flawed characters is nothing new. “John Stuart Mill,” he explained, “thought that people should lead their lives as they see fit. They then provide a valuable lesson and everybody benefits.”
    And if you must infer any moral lesson from George Best, then surely that is it. The absences without leave, the curtailed career, the time in prison, the treatment of women, the hopeless alcoholism – with all these he touched our moral imagination.
    As do Rooney, Beckham, Prince Charles, David Blunkett and an infinite list for that matter. But touching our moral imagination is not the same thing as influencing our moral choices.”

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/ach_pat_surely_not_keane/P25/

    Charlie got a lot of female votes kinda like the way of “Letter’s of a Successful TD”

  • tokane

    loyalist what about the corrupt stormont government that was run for 50 years gave jobs and government contract to protestants only and helped foster a culture of discrimination thats more corrupt than anything haughey ever did

  • J McConnell

    GreenFlag

    > Haughey had his faults just like any other politician but he got results .

    I must assume by the numbers you quote and your utter ignorance of how little CJ contributed to them that you must have been in nappies back in the ’80’s. No one who was an adult back them and most certainly no one who had the slightest idea of what was going on politically who give CJ any praise or responsibility for what has happened since the mid 90’s.

    CJ was a senior member and then leader of the Fianna Fail government that between 1977 and 1981 utterly bankrupted the Irish economy. After destroying the Irish economy he then spent the next 5 years destroying his own party while the Coalition government tried desperately to clear up the mess he had created. When he got back into power he only found the religion of financial rectitude because he had no choice, there was no more money to be borrowed and spent to buy off his supporters. To praise CJ for his financial prudence is like praising an habitual bankrupt for his financial prudence after all his credit-cards have been taken away…

    The 1980’s were a truly grim and gruesome time in Ireland and CJ bears most responsibility for the state of collapse that the country found itself in back then. He was a truly venial man who pandered to the worse tendencies in Irish politics and among those who seem to think politics is only about personally enriching themselves (i.e stealing from the neighbors) through the agency of the public purse or public office.

    Whenever I hear people praise CJ I always remember a quote I once heard about the people who supported CJ as a bunch of wannabe cute-hoors who would steal if they thought the could get away with it, but who were too stupid, lazy or cowardly to actually try it. These same people were then full of admiration for CJ when he actually tried to pull a fast one or a stroke, even though CJ was stealing the money (or worse) from their own and their childrens pockets.

    It may show a certain lack of charity but this quote crossed my mind during the recent Stardust Fire anniversary when I watched the pain in the faces of the victims parents as they groped towards some understanding as to why those responsible for their childrens deaths were never brought to justice and made to pay for their crimes. I wondered how many of the parents were staunch supporters of the local boy CJ and how many realized that the very people they supported were responsible for protecting the guilty who killed their children…

  • fionn

    greenflag,

    “From 1 million at work to 2 million at work is no small net gain .
    From 18% unemployment to 4% unemployment.
    From having a national debt of 130% of GDP in 1984 to 25% of GDP in the 1990’s was no mean achievment”

    no mean achievement i admit. but you could hardly give all credit to charlie. there were a lot of factors and people at work at that time. people who are still in politics, scandal free.

    “What results have your NI politicians achieved in 40 years”

    born and bred in dublin. i don’t have any NI politicians.

    haughey presided over a period of growth (when he could hang on to office). he also presided over periods of scandals -phone tapping, GUBU, Ben Dunne. not to mention scandals outside office already mentioned on this thread. all this while he was acting in best interests of ireland?

    i am not trying to nit-pick, but do you honestly believe -leaving out haugheys opinion on the north with speaks to you so much- that he had the interests of the nation at heart?

  • fionn

    oops, if i’d reac JmC’s response i would’na bothered. i remember dublin in the 80’s .. grim.

  • I guess Charlie would be seen from a northern unionist viewpoint as a typical , two-faced, free-state, chancer and rogue (putting it milldly), didn’t both his parents come from the north, Co Derry I believe, so the arguments can start about whether genetics or upbringing are more influential on a person’s make-up.
    Oh and Churchill; a racist bigot, weren’t all of those in power in the early 20th century like that though?

    Examples courtesy of SluggerO’Toole a blogger (thank you) “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.” — Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919

    “I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place.” — Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937

    “One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.” — From his Great Contemporaries, 1937

    Give me Charlie anyday.

  • Rory

    To Pat McLarnon I would say this, any remnants of 1930’s attitudes that might remain with me are more likely to be of the “shoot the landlord” rather than the “tip the forelock” variety. None that but know me would be in any any doubt thereof.

    I am quite sure that Haughey as a bourgeois politician, acting within a bourgeois political framework which is intrinsically corrupt, was touched by this corruption. Yet he remains a greatly successful Irish Taoiseach and the very able able sucessor to Lemass, recognising, unlike the internicene debility of English business and polititicians alike, that progress towards European economic unity would matter and matter very much indeed and understanding the ramifications of what that would mean regardless of native politicians opposition. I spent time on the stumps in ’71 and ’72 opposing Irish EEC entry, but once the game was lost we needed a hard ball player to bring our team into the batting leagues. Charlie Haughey eventually was the player who obliged.

    I would never dare to legislate on issues of adult human sexuality, nor of the differing social forms that that expression might take. But I do take exception to men using the language of the debased aristocrat and the debased pimp to apply to women that their frightened sexual hatred has defiled. Pimp and aristocrat debased alike, one by lack of wealth and the other by too much. Their victims, the injured women, remain morally inviolate.

    So it is simple – I object. If you use these terms in my presence I will object and, if within my hearing and sight I will object quite forcefully. It is simply wrong for a man to speak so of women. Have you never considered our behaviour towards a sex over whom we have had a great deal of control, one way or another, simply by being of our sex? I am quite sure that you have and that your earlier remarks were possibly motivated by your third-degree perception of the emotional injury to Haughey’s wife. But this is not your business, nor mine. Ours is not to know the human heart, any more than the mind of God, but it is, at least, to let it beat at its own rhythm.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘To Pat McLarnon I would say this, any remnants of 1930’s attitudes that might remain with me are more likely to be of the “shoot the landlord” rather than the “tip the forelock” variety. None that but know me would be in any any doubt thereof.’

    I’ll take your word on that. Though your defence of the swuire and the big house attitude to money and sexuality undermines that statement.

    As for the rest of your post you have defended the corrupt behaviour of a corrupt individual. I will leave it at that. However you attempt to bring in to the thread similarities to sexual abuse is both trite and puerile, not alone pretty desperate.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I must assume by the numbers you quote and your utter ignorance of how little CJ contributed to them ‘

    The numbers I quote are from Sean Barret -Professor of Economics at Trinity quoted on RTE Radio this morning . He might be expected to know more than I .

    Irish Governments from the mid 1970’s to the mid 80’s were adept at not facing up to the challenge which higher oil prices and stagflation brought to the Irish economy. Whether it was FF or the Coalition they all promised the sun moon and stars and all delivered an economy that by 1984/1985 was on it’s knees with mass emigration etc etc . Ireland was not the only country that tried to borrow it’s way out of recession .

    I’m not suggesting that CJ was an economic genius . And yes the 1980’s were economically a very tough period for the Irish economy. But Haughey eventually did come around to accepting what needed to be done and then appointed Ray McSharry to do it . It’s easy to criticise Haughey for his personal failings . But like it or not he helped to set the Republic on the path to the sustained economic growth the coutry enjoys today. For that much at least he deserves his place in the history books .

  • Greenflag

    ‘born and bred in dublin. i don’t have any NI politicians. ‘

    Then you should know better how lucky you are.I’m not suggesting Haughey was a saint. Far from it

    ‘ but do you honestly believe -leaving out haugheys opinion on the north with speaks to you so much- that he had the interests of the nation at heart? ‘

    Actually I’m not a fan of Haughey’s UI not by a long shot . I’d prefer an agreed Repartition of Northern Ireland as realistically there can be no compromise betweeen both diametrically opposed constitutional positions of Unionism/Loyalism and Republicanism/Nationalism in NI.

    As to whether he had the intersests of the nation at heart ? From the thousands of small holders in the west of Ireland to the thousands of senior citizens who enjoy free travel to the many thousands who will attend his funeral I’d say Charlie’s passing will cause a few to shed a tear .

    As for the Unionist bigot politicians who falsely have tried to claim the high moral ground in NI politics well you don’t have to be CJ Haughey to see through that charade

  • Jo

    Rorys comments and repugnance of the descriptions of women used did not echo any “big house” atttiude to women, Mr McLarnon, but what you wrote betrayed your atttiude to women in general, and is found equally repugnant by at least one female blogger to whom you have expressed a contempt on more than one occasion, including this thread.

    Fortunately both the woman of whom you wrote and this one writing now can rise above such little things. No doubt you will attempt to dismiss this as trying to pick a fight, or even try to claim that Rory is me posting under another name, but it ain’t so. You won’t be permitted to get away with your casual demeaning of women or your ridiculing of a man who whas written both eloquently and truly about how casual contempt in language betrays something dark about how men see women.

  • Brenda

    On tonights RTE news, the elderly definitely gave him a resounding thumbs up. He did a lot for them, as well as for Ireland in the EU. But unfortunately he is remembered for his controversy. That would be a pity, he was a shrewd politician, a man of his time.

  • Donnacha

    If anyone is listening to RTE radio can they let me know if the broadcaster does for Charlie what it did for Dev when he died and plays the Horslips classic “The Snake’s Farewell to the Emerald Isle”? I’d be interested to know if the station still has a sense of humour….

  • http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0614/haugheyc.html

    Radio with David Norris saying Charlie was the noblest Roman C of them all, that he died the same day as Paddy Dignam and will be buried on Bloomsday when PD was also buried, a great caseo f life imitating art.

    Bloomsday has be cencelled in honour of this Great Man. I propose Slugger also closes down for a day, or at the very least, ring all posts in mourning black.

    When beggars die there are no comets seen;
    The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

  • fionn

    “Then you should know better how lucky you are.”

    Do you mean lucky to have the governments we have had in the republic, or do you mean lucky not to have the politicians who are in NI?

    If the former, I can only say; shyeah right.

    If the latter, isn’t that defining you politics by who/what you are NOT. ie, ‘they may be corrupt, but sure they’re not as bad as your lot’. Or (as i had a scotsman say to me one day), ‘better a pipe bomber than a paedopohile’.

    I feel this is handing bad politicians an excuse not to wise up. We should, on all parts of this island, be striving to improve our politicians, not resting on their perceived comparisons.

    Here’s a thought, how’s about we create a ‘dream’ politician? Something along the lines of …

    The face of Gerry Adams, the brain of Malachi O’Doherty, the heart of Monica McWilliams and the neck of Ian Paisley :O). (any additions/corrections received greatfully -i’m very bored today)

  • fionn

    oh btw anonymous, i didn’t mean to spurn anyones affections. god knows i could with some more :), just didn’t want to be misunderstood. hence my now spurning your affections .. lol

  • Jo

    I think the elderly would have given him the thumbs up b/c of free travel etc, but the younger probably dont know who he is…sic transit gloria Charlie

  • Greenflag

    Do you mean lucky to have the governments we have had in the republic, or do you mean lucky not to have the politicians who are in NI?

    Fionn, luck was probably the wrong word to have used in this instance . We have had good , not so good and poor governments in the Irsh Republic since the foundation of the State. But at least the state itself in which our politicians have to operate is constitutionally accepted by 90% plus of it’s citizens . It has a democratic legitmacy which NI does not have . Northern Ireland has never had that level of consensual support for it’s continued existence and it is that fact of political life which produces the politicians which NI elects. NI politicians reflect the deeply divided nature of the NI State . How can you have other when one half of the elected politicians are in favour of the States non existence and the other half wish to preserve it ?

    As for your dream politician it sounds more like a nightmare 🙂 Societies get the politicians they deserve or vice versa .

    ‘We should, on all parts of this island, be striving to improve our politicians,’

    A nice thought but then King Canute thought it was a good idea if the sea were to recede at his request . It decided not to 🙂 Politicians are for the most part limited and bound by the society in which they have to operate. That society is built on the very nature of the State itself . If the State itself is by nature and foundation divided against itself on it’s continued existence and on it’s constitution then it’s elected politicians will be constrained by the need to perpetuate the division to continue to be elected etc etc .

    I’m not saying that it’s not impossible for NI politicians to escape from the cage of their self imposed limitation, it’s just that the political Houdini who can extract NI from the double cage which is the NI State, is nowhere to be seen.

  • fionn

    greenflag, point taken about democratic legitimacy.

    but if i may play devils advocate (sorry for the use of that particular phrase to all offended :). unionists would say that ‘certain agitators’ prevented the state from ever receiving legitimacy.

    of course that could be countered by saying it was unionists behaviour which prevented the state receiving legitimacy …

    i can just argue this one out on my own here 🙂

  • J McConnell

    Green Flag

    > …Irish Governments from the mid 1970’s to the mid 80’s were adept at not facing up to the challenge which higher oil prices and stagflation brought to the Irish economy…. etc etc

    So you were in nappies back then – because no one who had actually lived though those terrible years would write the load of tripe you did.

    As I said CJ contributed absolutely nothing to the recovery from the economic collapse that was precipitated by the 1977 FF government. Continuing with an existing policy after ’87 because you have no other choice does not show political responsibility in my opinion.

    And you obviously no nothing about the mafia style FF politics in Dublin back then. CJ was a vicious little psychopath who was usually able to gain almost everything he wanted with his mendacious charm and cunning but his goons were always visible in the background, just in case they were needed. And yes, people were hurt, and worse, if they did not see thing CJ’s way and were vocal and stubborn about it.

    The Irish medias coverage of his death has been nauseating in the extreme, but completely predictable. Everyone wants to pretend that he was not that bad after all because to admit the truth, that CJ was a conman and a crook who perverted the Irish political and legal system, who broke the law with impunity, who stole enormous amounts of money from everyone he could, who engaged in massive fraud and tax evasion, who even stole money donated to save a dying man, and was allowed to get away with it.

    To admit all this and the fact that he never spent a day in jail for all the felonies he had committed would be a damming indictment of Ireland and the Irish public culture. So the Irish media repeats utter lies about CJ’s life and achievements and engages in self-delusions so as to avoid the deeply embarrassing questions about why such a blatant fraud who betrayed everyone and everything was allowed to get away with it, and what his getting away with it says about Ireland and its public culture. The answers to theses questions are unflattering in the extreme but until the country starts facing up to them, and trying to answer them honestly, it will continue to be robbed blind by small time con-men like CJ, Albert and Bertie.

  • So who was the cashman for Martin O’Donoghue in the anti Charlie heave? Martin Ingram?
    Bertie made a nice graveside oration. Not up there with Paddy Pearse over O’Donovan Rossa but a good attempt.
    His widow put on a brave if age worn face. What did Charlie see in Terri Keane?
    On another note: Charlie got a bigger send off than Georgie Best, the Belfast boy.

  • Greenflag

    ‘unionists would say that ‘certain agitators’ prevented the state from ever receiving legitimacy. ‘

    They may say what they want but there is no way a State can be deemed legitimate if is imposed on an unwilling population . Force of course can be used and it was used during the Empire’s heyday but ultimately that use of force backfired against those who used it to browbeat and defeat the democratic will of the vast majority of people in Ireland .

    An agreed Repartition of Northern Ireland would at least leave Unionists with IMO a ‘legitimate’ state in approx a 2 county area that could at least claim some degree of ‘democratic legitimacy’. The pretense however of a legitimate 6 county NI State belongs in unionist and imperialist mythology. The various attempts to resuscitate this colonial era dead horse are a waste of time and money for Britain and Ireland alike.

  • Greenflag

    The RTE coverage of the funeral included a short biography of CJ and it covered the man’s career including the less positive side .

    He got a good send off and that was at least what he deserved .

    PS I know my Irish economic history so what you are on about as in ‘a load of tripe’ I fail to understand.

    ‘ because no one who had actually lived though those terrible years’

    Terrible . I suppose you could call them that but over the course of the past 2 centuries Ireland has had to endure even more terrible times particularly under the benevolent rule of the British Raj when 1 million died during the Great Famine and another Million were forced to flee the country hounded out to make way for more profitable sheep and cattle which could be exported to England.

    Cop yourself on McConnell . CJ Haughey was no saint . We Dubs know that . We also know he got things done. As Bertie said at his oration CJ will be looked favourably by history just as Parnell, Pearse , O’Connell, Tone , Mitchell etc etc etc and the many others who through the past few centuries have worked and given their lives to establish an independent Irish State.

    CJ was at heart a north Dub as is Greenflag and in the history of the Irish State to date
    the Taoisigh who have lifted the Irish State from the depths of economic depression have been mostly North Dubs . Sean Lemass, CJ Haughey, and Bert Ahern . Perhaps it was because in their early formative years they were closer to the people they represented . CJ was buried at his request in the heart of his constituency .

    PS I don’t expect you or any other Unionist to have any regard for CJ . However on the day of his interment it is shall we say inappropriate . best to ignore the event if you can say nothing positive . There will be another day to pore over the man’s faults .