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Saturday 20 July 2019

Ex-colleagues watch with interest to see if portrayal of Haughey is accurate

Emma Jane Hade

Former colleagues of Charles Haughey watched with interest to see if the man that they really knew would be accurately portrayed in the three-part series on his life and his time in politics.

Senator Terry Leyden served as a junior minister and TD under Mr Haughey's leadership in the 1980s and early 1990s. "I found him to be a very efficient, effective Taoiseach. I found him to be extremely effective. And I would put him in the same league as Sean Lemass, of that calibre of Taoiseach," he told the Irish Independent last night.

"I'm going to look at it with a certain amount of interest, it was a very interesting period, a very dramatic time in politics."

Mr Leyden said that while he had not much knowledge about what the entire series would entail, he was "sorry for" the former Taoiseach's wife Maureen for "having this programme brought out".

"Maureen is an absolute lady. I am sure the family are concerned about it... I regret that very much," he added.

Former minister Mary O'Rourke has said that she will be watching the series with a great degree of interest as her late brother Brian Lenihan Snr will be portrayed in it by actor Peter O'Meara.

Mrs O'Rourke said that she recently spoke with Brian Lenihan's widow Ann, who agreed that the actor bore a "passing resemblance" to her late brother.

"I am interested because I served in Cabinet with Mr Haughey for five years as Education Minister. I am interested in all of that, in every aspect of his life, most of which I would know anyway," she added.

"There's good and bad in all of us. There is good and bad in me because I was a politician. But we all have good and bad, black and white spots in us all. It will be interesting to see how it is all balanced out."

Limerick TD and former Fianna Fail minister Willie O'Dea said that one excerpt from the show, in which actor Aidan Gillen, who plays Mr Haughey, says "I'm winning this and you are either with me or against me" is an accurate reflection of the way the late Taoiseach operated. Mr O'Dea was a member of the infamous 'Club of 22' who opposed his leadership in the early 1980s.

"You were either with him or against him, and if you were against him you were definitely in the outside circle and that was it, and that is where you stayed," he added.

Irish Independent

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