Maureen Haughey believed that life with her late husband, Charlie, was “never dull – whether for good or bad.”
Delivering a heart-felt eulogy after her mother’s funeral mass, daughter, Eimear Mulhern, said her mother had concluded a memoir of her life and times.
“I think I’ve had an interesting life,” the daughter of a Taoiseach, who married a Taoiseach, had written by way of conclusion.
Ms Mulhern, speaking on behalf of the family, said that had her mother been born in another place or in another era, she might have been successful in her own right in business and/or politics.
She recalled that Maureen Haughey was extremely proud of her father’s role as a young boy in the 1916 Rising and subsequent War of Independence.
But she was equally proud of the Taoiseach and statesman Seán Lemass became, helping forge Ireland as a modern democracy. Mrs Haughey was also “fiercely proud of and loyal to” her husband of 55 years, Charlie Haughey, who died in June 2006.
“She was in his corner at all times,” Ms Mulhern summed up. She said her mother had “many trials” in her life.
“But she was always stoic and dignified and held her head up quietly and held her counsel,” she added.
Ms Mulhern said her parents had many good times together after his retirement from public life, spending time in France, on their Kerry island of Innishvickillane, and elsewhere.
Following her father’s death she left the family home of almost 50 years, at Kinsealy, to live very happily near her children and grandchildren in nearby Malahide.
Maureen Haughey had her own loyal circle of friends and engaged in horse riding and successfully breeding champion Irish wolfhounds. She was an ardent Irish nationalist and loved a good sing-sing rebel ballads during which “many a Black’n’Tan was shot.”
Ms Mulhern said her mother had a keen interest in politics and current affairs. She had often joked that she was a better judge of character than her husband.
She also recalled their Kinsealy home as “open house” for her and her brothers’ many friends. Maureen Haughey was devoted to family and friends and was always welcoming.
The chief mourners at St Sylvester’s Church in Malahide were the Haughey siblings, Eimear, Conor, Ciarán and Seán, their eight grandchildren and other members of the extended Haughey-Lemass clan.
The overflow attendance included Fionnuala O’Kelly, wife of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who worked as Charlie Haughey’s press officer, and another former Fianna Fáil press staffer Niamh O’Connor.
The President was represented his aide de camp, Lieut Commander Patricia Butler, and the Taoiseach by his aide de camp, Commdt Will Collins. The chief celebrant and preacher at the requiem mass was Fr Bryan Shortall of the Dublin centre-city Capuchins, and other priests included Monsignor Tom Stack, with music provided by the Palestrina Choir of Dublin’s Pro Cathedral.
The attendance also included a “Who’s Who” of Fianna Fáil past and present. Former Taoiseach and party leader, Bertie Ahern, was there as was current party leader, Micheál Martin and his wife, Mary. Contemporaries of the late Charlie Haughey included the former EU Commissioners and government ministers, Ray MacSharry and Máire Geoghegan Quinn, Tom Kitt, Dr Michael Woods, Gerard Collins, Dr Rory O’Hanlon, Brendan Daly, GV Wright, Noel Treacy, Séamus Kirk, and Martin Mansergh.
The current Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, and Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Denis O’Donovan, were there, as were former Supreme Court judge, Hugh O’Flaherty, former Labour Party general secretary, Séamus Scally, financier Dermot Desmond, businessman Ulick McEvaddy, public relations executives James Morrissey and Caroline Kennedy, former ministers, Mary Hanafin and Pat Carey, journalist Vincent Browne and barrister Gerry Danaher.
Others included former and current Fianna Fáil senators, Terry Leyden, Gerry Horkan, Mary White, Don Lydon, Rory Kiely and Donie Cassidy. Current Fianna Fáil TDs included John Curran, Billy Kelleher, Timmy Dooley, Thomas Byrne, Darragh O’Brien, Dara Calleary, Eugene Murphy, Eamon Scanlon, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, Jim O’Callaghan, Niamh Smyth, Stephen Donnelly, along with Kerry Independent Michael Healy Rae.