Eamon Delaney: Charlie Haughey, a sterling windfall and the republican legacy
The claim by Eamon Dunphy that Charlie Haughey, and his friends, benefited from a tip-off about the devaluation of sterling in 1967 comes as no surprise. It was long a rumour in Dublin, but it is a credit to Dunphy that he has put it on the record, and quoted an anonymous but credible source, close to Haughey himself. And while this might seem like a tale to sell copies of his new book, it is actually a serious allegation which reveals much about the changing political culture of the 1960s and the legacy of tolerated dodginess that led to some of the serious corruption of recent years, especially under Fianna Fail.
Dunphy reveals how Haughey apparently made a windfall from his advance knowledge of the sterling devaluation, and was thus able to buy his impressive Abbeville mansion soon afterwards. The source told Dunphy that the devaluation was Charlie's first big "touch".
"The Irish pound was linked to sterling, so when Harold Wilson's government decided to devalue on November 18, 1967, the Irish government was given 24 hours' notice." As Minister for Finance, Haughey passed the information on to a small group of wealthy Irish businessmen, who made a fortune on the currency markets.