Tuesday 17 October 2017

Modern leaders haven't managed to live up to Lynchpin Jack

Taoisigh since 1979 have lacked judgment, underachieved, made policy errors, or have had no vision, says Bruce Arnold

FATHER FIGURE: Jack Lynch is congratulated outside Leinster House after becoming Taoiseach in 1966
FATHER FIGURE: Jack Lynch is congratulated outside Leinster House after becoming Taoiseach in 1966

The shortest letter I ever received came up to me in the press gallery of the Dail from the floor of the chamber. It was a note scribbled on a small piece of paper by Brian Lenihan Senior, who had taken the initial business of the House at 10.30. The message had been sent up by hand of an usher.

It said: "Jack is announcing retirement at party meeting 11.30. Do not quote me. Brian."

I thought the last phrase was a joke. I was wrong. Few events as cataclysmic as the one that was to follow had happened in my time covering politics in the Dail.

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