Saturday 24 February 2018

RTE to make drama about life of Charles Haughey for €3m

Charles Haughey
Charles Haughey
Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

RTE is to make a three-part drama about the life of former Taoiseach Charles J Haughey.

According to a synopsis, 'Citizen Charlie' will be a trilogy of 90-minute dramas "charting the emergence of modern Ireland through the mesmeric figure of Charles J Haughey and his pursuit of power, wealth and glamour".

With a budget of some €3m, writer Colin Teevan will tell the story of 'The Boss' who went from humble beginnings to owning a yacht, a Georgian mansion, and an island -- Inishvickillane, off the Kerry coast.

It is estimated that Haughey raked in millions in undeclared donations. Much of this was later exposed by tribunals.

He eventually agreed a €6.5m settlement with the Revenue in relation to undeclared donations.

The Haughey family has not been consulted about the upcoming drama, which is expected to begin shooting in 2013. Element Pictures will co-produce the series for RTE with London-based producers Touchpaper.

RTE said last night that the series would be as much about Ireland as the disgraced leader.

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Its commissioning editor for drama, Jane Gogan, has welcomed an investment of €1m from the BAI Sound and Vision Fund in the drama.

"We are very pleased that the BAI has agreed to finance the project with RTE. Charles J Haughey is a figure in Irish life on which everyone has a point of view, but this drama will be as much about Ireland as it is about one man," said Ms Gogan.

Previous attempts to dramatise the life of Ireland's most controversial Taoiseach have not always proved successful.

Award-winning novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry received a critical mauling in 2002 for his satirical play 'Hinterland' -- loosely based on the life of Charles J Haughey, who died in 2006 aged 80, after serving three separate terms.

Irish Independent

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