Haughey pocketed a cool €11.4 million in bribes

The Moriarty Tribunal has finally issued its report into the financial irregularities of former Taoiseach, Charles J Haughey and other politicians. All along Haughey claimed ignorance of his own finances, something the judge dismissed entirely.

Moriarty ruled that Haughey’s most generous donor, department store baron Ben Dunne, received lobbying support from the prime minister in his company’s successful battle to avoid paying a €49 million (US$64 million) bill to Ireland’s tax collection agency.

The judge noted that Haughey received about €65,000 (US$85,000) from a Saudi sheik in exchange for getting Irish passports for his relatives, although Haughey had claimed the money was for a racing horse he owned. He said Haughey spent on himself tens of thousands of euros (dollars) that he had raised on behalf of his deputy prime minister, the late Brian Lenihan, for his deputy’s cancer-treatment bills.

While Haughey entered office in 1979 owing Ireland’s largest bank nearly €1.5 million (US$2 million), the judge noted, most of the debt to Allied Irish Banks PLC was either paid by business friends or never repaid at all.

  • jfd

    disgusting.

    When I think of what my PAYE parents went through in the 1980’s it sickens me.

    These findings underscore his real legacy.

    Charlie should be remembered as such: a opportunistic, devious, politically and morally bankrupt individual – a greater threat to the ideals of our democratic Republic will never be found than in the honouring of this failed man and flawed politician.

    Him and his like should not be missed.

  • Brian Boru

    To be a bribe, you need to have given something in return. Certainly I would consider what Haughey did to be highly inappropriate, unethical, and placing him in an extremely compromised position. But whether they were”bribes” in the strict sense of the word is another matter.

  • joeCanuck

    Gee Brian
    I wish I could get some of the nothing that Ben Dunne got.

  • Pete Baker

    Like a passport, Brian?

  • jerryp

    The bastard was instrumental in setting up both the Provo’s and the P.D.’s. How much more damage could any one man do to a country ?

  • CS Parnell

    Never had any time for the Legions of the Rearguard myself, but this is a humiliation beyond belief. Harney’s politics stink, but I’d rather be a PD than a crook.

  • CS Parnell

    Bertie seems to be getting a let off the on the basis that “he was just a young ejit, what did he know”? Everyone in Ireland – and I mean everyone – knew that Haughey pulled strokes. The only issue was what sort. Bertie is guilty of moronic stupidity if nothing else.

    Enough is enough.

  • The difference between a criminal politician and a paramiltary/conventional criminal is,

    The politician’s criminality is only revealed after his/her death.

    I am certain that there are politicans today who are engaged in similar acts, especially with the property boom in the South over recent years.

    As long as the electorate receive more equity in their homes, they are prepared to put up with criminal dealings by politicians.

    Recent revelations about Bertie Ahearn confirms him as the “Heir apparent” to Charlie Haughey.

    So, whether it is the Northern Bank raid, backhanders from the property world, or corruption of politicians, you can’t get half pregnant,
    Crime is crime, politicians must lose the ability to hide behind a cloak of respectability.

  • Plum Duff

    Without wishing for a moment to minimise the damage CJ Haughey has done to Irish democracy, may I point out the current shenanigans of our own current Prime Minister, Mr Blair. What exactly is the difference between selling honours to put placemen into a branch of a legislative parliament in order to get laws passed, which you yourself write, than, on the other hand, trousering the lot for yourself? Blair is not the first PM nor, for as long as they continue to have such a system, will he be the last to pollute the British system of government. But it confirms the old adage of politics being a war by another means and the end result in war is, of course, to the victor the spoils. Both practices are corrupt and both bring shame to their respective countries.

  • Pete Baker

    Plum Duff

    The principle of corruption may be the same, assuming the proof arrives in the other case, but the personal enrichment involved takes Haughey, and anyone else involved, to a different level.

  • Crataegus

    Why on earth did this only come out after his death? Do I remember a State funeral? Everyone knew he was on the take, what utter hierocracy. I for one found it repugnant. It is important that people in high office are found guilty long before they die, and be incarcerated for their crimes. It sets a standard, a bench mark. As for Bertie you would be a ijit to think he is a fool.

    It seems to me that there is an attitude in many quarters in the South that shaving a bit off is OK, that it’s a sort of commission for professional advice. In India and the like you come across the same thing but there the blokes often need the extra to raise the family.

    Brian Boru

    To be a bribe, you need to have given something in return. Certainly I would consider what Haughey did to be highly inappropriate, unethical, and placing him in an extremely compromised position. But whether they were “bribes” in the strict sense of the word is another matter.

    You really can’t be ambivalent about these things. You must ruthlessly root out corruption and sleazy side deals and considerations. If you don’t it is you the ordinary guy who gets shafted.

    Art Hostage

    I am certain that there are politicians today who are engaged in similar acts, especially with the property boom in the South over recent years.

    Be in no doubt it is going on North and South. There is a tendency to look at these things as somehow lesser than say bank robbery. They are not, someone pays, it isn’t the developer it is the people buying the houses. So how much of your mortgage is a sleaze tax?

    With regards Britain large political donations need to be closely examined to see if they could potentially have influenced legislation.

    Business and politics really need to be kept apart. Money always buys influence and the more the need for finance the lower the price.

    While we are on impropriate behaviour another area worth examination is the close association some Estate Agents have with some developers. I stress ‘some’. When does keeping in touch with potential customers veer over into working as agents for?

  • joeCanuck

    I agree Pete.
    At least here in Canada the politicians normally wait until they have retired before they get their payoffs – Board Directorships etc. getting up to $10,000 per month to go to a 3 hour meeting with lunch provided of course.

  • Donnacha

    What jfd said. The venailty of the man is staggering. I also remember my parents struggling through the Haughey years but I’ll never forgive the cute hoor for whacking a five-quid emigration tax on one-way tickets out in the 80s. Prick. I hope they buried him at a crossroads.

  • Pete Baker

    There are, at least here, regulations governing how soon after stepping down from office such directorships may be taken, joe.

    And that’s the key.. whether or not agreed standards are breached – regardless of whether you personally agree with those standards or not.

  • Wilde Rover

    Also from a PAYE family in the 80s, I can recall memories of being told Santa might not be able to get us presents of the same standard because of some vague connection to something called a budget.

    But I am not entirely convinced that Santa’s sleigh would have been suddenly weighed down if the greengrocer had decided to invest the money somewhere else, possibly in various South American consumable products.

    It’s funny how our brethren on the mainland remember him differently. To the leaders of Europe at the time when important money deals were being negotiated he was the charming man, splendidly and tastefully dressed with an epicurean taste in fine food and fine wine.

    He could invite them to his Gandon mansion for a quick canter around the estate, or perhaps to his island for a little yachting.

  • Plum Duff

    Pete

    ‘The principle of corruption may be the same, assuming the proof arrives in the other case, but the personal enrichment involved takes Haughey, and anyone else involved, to a different level.’

    I’m afraid I can’t entirely agree with the ‘level’ analogy. Personal enrichment, vis-à-vis pocketing donations/bribes directly, can be described simply as pure selfishness. On the other hand, if you can accept that comparable amounts of money go into the coffers of the party of which you are the leader in order to enhance yours and your party’s power – it may be, as you say, that ‘the principle of corruption may be the same’ – but, at some time or other, both sets of donating hands will be outstretched for favours owed. The uses of the donations/bribes may be slightly different but the end results/demands will be the same. I therefore ask again, is there a difference between an enhanced personal lifestyle and a communal, state sponsored one with the free houses, Jags and flunkies gained largely, albeit indirectly, from spending donated funds at election time? I honestly fail to see the difference as, imo, both lifestyles have been obtained from corrupt practices.

    I’m sorry if I appear to be splitting hairs here but I am firmly of the view that each of the above practices looks, walks and talks like the same duck.

  • Plum Duff

    Correction: I should have also, as I did in my first posting, mentioned the selling of peerages.

  • confused

    This inquiry does not reflect well on the press in Dublin. There had been rumours of Haughys corruption for years but no one thought it necessary to investigate the matter. There is also the affair which was very public with a certain journalist whose name I have forgotten.
    He most certainly debased democracy in the country.Knowing what he was like how could Aherne speak of him in such glowing terms at his funeral? This calls into question his judgement.

  • sammaguire

    How about a Moriarty style Tribunal as to how the British royal family acquired it’s obscene wealth?? Saw an interesting BBC documentary on land ownership in Britain about a year ago. Like Charlie Haughey the royals weren’t too keen on paying taxes until recently.