Friday 27 April 2018

John-Paul McCarthy: 'Visionary' Haughey a throwback

The State papers reveal that the former Taoiseach was no agent of modernisation

John-Paul McCarthy

Some of Charles Haughey's more sophisticated admirers present him as an agent of modernisation. They see his career in terms of a series of trade-offs, and at the end, the celestial scales of historical reputation are deemed to have fallen in his favour.

His Succession Act is said to blot out his more bizarre ministerial appointments like Gene FitzGerald at Finance and Sean Doherty at Justice.

His extraction of the magic words "the totality of relations within these islands" from Mrs Thatcher in 1980 is said to wipe away the stain of his Arms Trial testimony where he betrayed his own Cabinet allies in the witness box. And in a similar vein, the squalid financial nexus unearthed by the Moriarty tribunal is said to be about as big a deal as Helmut Kohl's money troubles.

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