Friday 30 September 2016

Former attorney general in GUBU case dies

Published 08/01/2016 | 10:53

Former Attorney General Patrick Connolly
Former Attorney General Patrick Connolly

FORMER attorney general Patrick Connolly has passed away.

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Mr Connolly played an unwitting role for one of the most extraordinary sequence of events to have occurred in Irish society in the 80s, which led the then Taoiseach Charlie Haughey to utter the term "grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented".

Haughey's comment prompted Conor Cruise O'Brien, a high profile critic of Haughey, to coin the phrase 'GUBU', which he used to describe Haughey's government.

In the summer of 1982, double killer Malcolm Macarthur was the country's most wanted man following the murder of nurse Bridie Gargan in the Phoenix Park, and the shooting dead of Offaly farmer Donal Dunne.

Macarthur was eventually arrested in the Dalkey apartment of Mr Connolly.

The arrest caused huge sensation at the time, and was exacerbated by Mr Connolly heading off to the US for a planned holiday very shortly afterwards.

The controversy plunged Haughey's then government into crisis as speculation surrounding the arrest of Macarthur mounted.

Connolly was a completely innocent party and had no idea that his friend Macarthur had been involved in any crime.

It subsequently emerged that prior to his arrest, Macarthur went to the All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park as a guest of the attorney general, where they sat in the ardcomhairle box beside the then garda commissioner and other high profile guests.

Connolly flew to the US on a planned holiday after the arrest of Macarthur.

However, he flew back home soon afterwards as the crisis grew and addressed the situation.

It later emerged that Connolly gave Macarthur accommodation at his Dalkey residence at the request of a mutual friend, another innocent party who had no idea that Macarthur was involved in any crime.

Connolly resigned from the role as attorney general and returned to the bar.

The late Mr Connolly was in his 80s and passed away yesterday.

He served as attorney general from March to August 1982.

His funeral will take place tomorrow in the Church of the Assumption in Dalkey at 10am and he will be laid to rest at Deansgrange Cemetery.

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