Thursday 19 April 2018

The man who first persuaded us to accept that the answer was No

Ray MacSharry is credited now with laying the foundations for our boom but at one stage he was the most hated man in Ireland, writes Aengus Fanning

THERE is a story that gives us a clue to Ray MacSharry's character, to the man who, as Minister for Finance, laid the foundations in 1987 for the economic miracle of the following 20 years, the Mac the Knife who seemed to thrive on unpopularity.

When Haughey and MacSharry set about cutting public spending as a remedy for crisis in the Government's finances, they decided to scrap a home improvement grant scheme that had already been announced. There was an outcry from backbench TDs of all parties, who complained that contracts had been signed, deposits paid, and so on.

One backbencher, walking along the corridors of Leinster House, happened to come upon Haughey and MacSharry deep in conversation.

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