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Let us not forget the real Haughey

It's a long time since RTE has announced such an eagerly-awaited programme, but all talk at last week's autumn schedule launch was not about the new series of Love/Hate, but rather the mini-series about Charles Haughey, which will coincidentally feature two of Love/Hate's biggest stars of past and present, Aidan Gillen and Tom Vaughan Lawlor.

One of the dangers of this high-profile show, of course, is that it will provide some sort of rehabilitation for Haughey.

The former FF leader died in disgrace eight years ago following a myriad revelations about his secret lifestyle, particularly the receipt of about €8m from various businessmen during the 80s, which he failed to declare for tax.


While famously telling Irish taxpayers to tighten their belts during those austere times, Haughey himself was loosening his to accommodate the fine food and wine he was pouring down his throat, courtesy of the handout.

And most shamefully, he diverted a large proportion of money that was raised to pay for a liver transplant for his friend and colleague Brian Lenihan into his own bank account.

For all his political nous, Haughey was an arch hypocrite who legitimised corruption in politics, the effect of which we continue to feel today in people such as Ivor Callely.

Haughey may very well be great TV - but Charles Haughey wasn't a great man.