Wednesday 21 February 2018

Salutary lessons in history on how the mighty have fallen

Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey
Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey
Charlie Haughey

Brian Murphy

It is an irony of history that Alan Shatter's resignation actually took place almost 44 years to the day of arguably the most controversial ministerial departures in the history of the state.

On May 6, 1970, the Minister for Finance, Charles Haughey, and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Neil Blaney, were sacked from Government by Jack Lynch as the Arms Crisis erupted. Of course, the circumstances of Alan Shatter's departure are different. Blaney and Haughey pointedly refused to comply with Lynch's request to resign and the Taoiseach was forced to ask the 87-year-old President de Valera to exercise his powers under the constitution to terminate their appointments. In contrast, Alan Shatter seems to have left office of his own volition and with no hostility towards the Taoiseach.

His resignation letter emphasises his view that Enda Kenny is "doing an extraordinary job" and Shatter refers to his desire not to "distract from the important work of Government or create any difficulties for the Fine Gael or Labour parties in the period leading into the European and Local Elections."

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