Saturday 3 December 2016

Haughey: lest we forget

Published 30/12/2010 | 05:00

ONE of the most notorious incidents in Charles J Haughey's career occurred in January 1980, at the beginning of his first term as Taoiseach. It is recalled in the state papers for that year, about to be released for public viewing under the 30-year rule. The timing could hardly be better.

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Haughey went on television to tell the country that it was living beyond its means. Profoundly true, in terms of borrowing and spending, both public and private, but how did he propose to rectify matters?

Whatever he had in mind, he ran away from the challenge he himself posed. He allowed borrowing and spending to run riot. He made unaffordable deals with the unions on pay and public service numbers. All this was done cynically, in the neverending quest for popularity, and without any regard for the country's needs.

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