Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916

Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916
The Signatories of the Proclamation

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Michael Carty

Michael Carty (16 December 1916 – 23 April 1975) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. Born in Loughrea, County Galway to Lawrence and Josephine Carty, he was the eldest of seven children. A schoolteacher by profession, he was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Galway South constituency at the 1957 general election. From 1961 to 1969, he represented the Galway East constituency, and from 1969 to 1973 the Clare–Galway South constituency. He retired from politics in 1973.

He served in the government of Seán Lemass on one occasion from 1965 to 1969 as Government Chief Whip, occupying the positions of Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Lionel Booth

Lionel O. Booth (12 June 1914 – 31 May 1997) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician and businessman. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for twelve years.

He was educated at Wesley College in Ballinteer, Dublin, and first entered politics in the 1950s serving on both Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Corporation.

He stood unsuccessfully at the 1954 general election, and was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1957 general election for the Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown constituency. He was re-elected at each subsequent general election, but did not contest the 1969 general election and retired from politics.

A qualified solicitor, Booth is probably best be remembered as an astute businessman. He was both the joint managing director of Booth Poole and Company Limited from 1956 and managing director of the Brittain Group from 1970.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - James Carroll

James Carroll (29 March 1907 – 30 July 1973) was an Irish politician. Carroll was first elected to Dáil Éireann as an independent Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South–West constituency at the 1957 general election. He had stood at the 1954 general election for the same constituency but was unsuccessful. He was re-elected at the 1961 general election but lost his seat at the 1965 general election. He served as Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1957 to 1958.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - (John) Jack Murphy

Jack Murphy in the late 1950's
(John) Jack Murphy (1920 – 11 July 1984) was an Irish politician and the first unemployed person ever elected to a national legislature.[1] He was elected to Dáil Éireann as an independent Teachta Dála (TD) at the 1957 general election for the Dublin South–Central constituency.

Murphy was a former member of the Irish Republican Army who had been interned in the 1940s. At the time of his election, he was an unemployed carpenter. He was the candidate of the Unemployed Protest Committee (UPC), which had been formed on 12 January 1957. He resigned his seat on 13 May 1958 in protest at the indifference of the main political parties to the plight of the unemployed.[5] After his resignation he subsequently emigrated with his family to Canada but returned to Ireland in 1964. He died on 11 July 1984.

Jack Murphy was born in 1920 at the back of Synge Street, Dublin. He was the second youngest son of a carpenter and had five brothers and five sisters. His father, a well-known athlete who won the all-Ireland walking championship in 1903, was active in the republican movement and was a founder-member of the National Union of Woodworkers. Murphy joined Fianna Éireann at the age of 10. Up to the age of 14 he attended St Mary’s National School, Rathmines, and then started work as an apprentice carpenter, while attending Bolton Street Technical College in the evenings. He became a member of the Irish Republican Army at 16. He was also an active trade union member from an early age as demonstrated when, as a carpenters apprentice, he became one of the leaders of a strike on the River Liffey Reservoir Scheme (popularly known as the Poulaphouca Scheme). The strike lasted several months until only three of the original committee remained, with Murphy being one of them.

Arrested in 1941 by the Fianna Fáil Government, he was interned with a number of other republicans in the Curragh until the end of the The Emergency in 1945. These four years afforded him time to study, broadening his interest and outlook. A fluent Irish speaker, he was interviewed in Irish for his entry into the National College of Art and Design after his release from the Curragh. In the Mansion House Exhibition of 1950 he won an arts and crafts certificate for his leather and craftwork.

He returned to his trade of carpentry where he was quickly re-elected shop steward after he took a leading part in several actions and strikes for better conditions, most notably the strike to end the campaign of sackings by employers which took place in 1953. However in 1956, during which record unemployed figures were reached in Ireland, he found himself one of the many thousands out of work.

He emigrated to England, but returned after four months as he missed his family. He later said:
I am against emigration for many reasons, one is that it wrecks family life. When I worked in England I nearly broke my heart thinking of my wife and youngsters all the time I was there. Here in Ireland the clergy and politicians are always preaching about the sanctity of the Christian family, but they do nothing about the unemployment and emigration that is breaking up thousands of families.
Murphy came to the conclusion that the only way to fight unemployment was to do it in Ireland with an organised movement. As he saw it, with national emigration running at 40-50,000 per year, "Irish capital is being exported abroad and the Irish working class are being exported with it."

On 12 January 1957, with 11 other Dublin men they formed the Unemployed Protest Committee (UPC) for the purpose of protesting against the unemployment situation, and Jack was named as secretary. While some articles and papers written after the event later imply that the UPC had been a political organisation, Murphy himself never intended the UPC to be either a political organisation or political party. He explained: "The UPC was not a political organisation as such. It was intended to spotlight the problem of unemployment and emigration. That was my intention when I went to the Dáil".

In order to focus the eyes of the nation on the plight of the unemployed the committee organised a series of well-attended orderly marches through Dublin streets of a colourful yet serious nature. The marches were usually preceded by a home made-coffin "We organised marches through the city. We hoped to arouse the conscience of the Nation. We carried a black coffin, symbolising our only hope if we did not fight.". However despite their pageantry the UPC marches seem to have had limited impact on the employment situation and on the policy makers.

The fall of the Government on 4 February 1957, due to the withdrawal of support by Seán MacBride's Clann na Poblachta, led to the 1957 general election and provided an opportunity for the UPC to dramatically escalate their protests. Seeing the need to put employment on to the political agenda the UPC decided to run a candidate. Jack Murphy said at the time:
"We thought of all types of schemes to approach the politicians, we would ask them to make a statement from their election platforms on their policy to solve unemployment. But again we knew that they would easily agree to such a suggestion during the election campaign , just as easily as they would forget the unemployed after they were elected. No, the only way to make these people understand that we were a force to be reckoned with was to contest a seat in the election."
Two names were put forward as possible candidates at a meeting in Parnell Square: Sam Nolan, and Jack Murphy. After much consideration it was decided that Murphy would be more suitable. When some Committee members suggested that Nolan might be the better choice, Peadar O'Donnell argued that, with a background as a leading member of the Communist party, his candidacy might frighten voters away. Nolan himself pointed out that his Communist credentials would have a negative impact as anti-communist hysteria was rife following the Soviet invasion of Hungary of 1956.

It was decided that Murphy, with his republican background, would run in the Dublin South–Central Constituency, firstly because this inner city constituency had a high population density which would be more convenient to canvass compared than a large sprawling area, and secondly it housed the largest Labour Exchange in Dublin City, Werburgh Street. This location offered a platform for the UPC to get their message across. They distributed leaflets outside Werburgh Street while across the River Liffey on Dublin’s North side, they broadcast election messages from a UPC office at the D.T.U.C in Gardiner Street, with hired and borrowed loadspeakers, to men signing on at the nearby Gardiner Street Labour Exchange.

The task of raising the £100 deposit necessary to stand as a candidate was taken on by Peader O'Donnell. He received £25 each from four friends including Fr. Counihane, a Jesuit priest who sympathised with the cause of Labour;, Digby, the owner of Pye Radio; a Fianna Fáil Senator called Murry; and Toddy O’ Sullivan, manager of the Gresham Hotel. It has been said of Dublin City that "a good cause will always find support in an unexpected way"; the campaign was run on a shoestring budget. Murphy said of their financial situation, "We had no funds. With bobs and pennies sacrificed from doles and unemployment money we fought on".

After an appeal for volunteers to help in the campaign, the UPC soon found that they had a willing army of unemployed people who helped out in what ever way they could. They canvassed over 14,000 houses during the campaign. Teams of unemployed painters hand painted hundreds of posters and got their message across with very effective whitewash slogan writing. The campaign lifted the spirits of all involved as it gave them a feeling of hope and a sense of direction. The idea of unemployed people finally standing up and taking control of their own lives aroused great enthusiasm and support. Encouraging letters of support and subscriptions from well wishers began arriving at the Protest office in Derby Square, Dublin. One woman by the name of Elizabeth Faye typed thousands of letters on her portable typewriter every night after she’d put her children to bed.

With his trademark black beret and straight talking approach, Murphy proved a popular candidate. He emerged victorious with 3,036 votes thus becoming the first unemployed man ever elected to a national legislature. His seat was gained at the expense of the Labour Party who had fielded Roddy Connolly (son of James Connolly) as their candidate, though many Labour activists in the area campaigned for Murphy.

Murphy was considered an independent as he was not affiliated to any of the established political parties like Fianna Fáil, which won the majority of seats at the 1957 general election.

While many of his unemployed supporters considered the fact that Murphy had been elected as victory in itself, neither they nor Murphy had anticipated the task he faced inside the Dáil. His maiden speech was greeted by sneers and sniggers from the professional politicians in the Dáil and set the scene for what was to follow. The suspicion and disdain with which Murphy was regarded with by established parliamentary members meant that initially he could not get answers to even to the most basic of his queries - such as how much unemployment relief money was to be spent in Dublin. In contrast, the same politicians had no problem in addressing trivial concerns like those raised by Fine Gael's Jack Belton when he asked about the "hardship imposed on cricket clubs because of the cost of cricket balls".

Despite this, over his term, Murphy stubbornly persisted and used every opportunityto ignite serious consideration within the Dáil on questions surrounding poverty, emigration and unemployment assistance. He also used his vote in protest to remind the established parties of their pre-election promises; as exemplified by his statement on 20 March 1957 in opposition to the election of the Fianna Fáil leader Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach:
I do not propose to support the nomination of Deputy de Valera as Taoiseach, despite the fact that Deputy de Valera has publicly stated that his first task will be to solve unemployment. I have heard these promises before and my presence here is a symbol of broken promises and should be taken as a warning that emigration and unemployment will no longer be suffered in silence. This election proves that the people have given Fianna Fáil the task of solving unemployment. I realise that that problem will not be solved in a few weeks and that any Government should be given an opportunity of putting its programme into effect. I will support fully any scheme which will reduce unemployment and emigration. I hope my simple statement will be met with understanding, both inside and outside the House.
Murphy did not limit his role to criticism. He also made suggestions for new projects which could create jobs
"In view of the fact that there is still widespread unemployment in the building industry, would the Taoiseach consider taking more drastic measures to bring about a revival of house building? In Dublin City, we have no concert hall, no proper Houses of Parliament and we need more modern municipal buildings. The country needs these things very badly and they would give much-needed employment to building workers. I speak, Sir, with a sense of urgency which springs from looking at unfortunate men trying to survive in present conditions."
On occasion he also attempted to force votes on issues he was concerned with, such as the motion for increasing assistance to the unemployed on 25 March 1958:
"I wish to state that I am appalled at the callous indifference of the Parliamentary Secretary... The statement that there is no money to give these unfortunate people a further increase will be regarded by decent Christian people as a downright lie. I am still convinced that, with any kind of honest effort, the lot of the poorer sections of our people could be improved. The unemployed and the old age pensioners will continue to press for elementary Christian justice. I have asked, and I now repeat my request, for a free vote of the House on this issue."
Despite his best efforts it quickly became obvious that his perceived status within the Dáil as a "street politician" meant he was seen as a threat to the established order. Established politicians were more concerned with the votes he had taken away from existing political dynasties than the national issues he was trying to address. When he not being strategically ignored within the Dáil he was under attack from the members of the house, as demonstrated by Fine Gael's Stephen Barrett, who on 12 June 1957 declared the UPC (and therefore Murphy himself) part of "a new communist assault" on Ireland.

As a result, Murphy made little headway in the political process within the Dáil. In the end he admitted in despair that "I found that Leinster House was more a centre of political activity and useless talk than a place where plans could be made to ease the lot of the unfortunate".

Murphy's troubles were greatly multiplied once the new Fianna Fáil government's budget was revealed to be a particularly severe one, and including planning for the ending of food subsidies which was going to hit his support base of the unemployed and low paid workers particularly hard.

Murphy later said: "In my time in the Dáil and even before that, I was in many of their [the unemployed] homes. I saw hunger and misery, ill-nourished children and despairing parents. That is still continuing. I knew when the ‘famine budget’ of 1957 was brought in that their position would be worsened."

Murphy tried first to oppose the impending budget within the Dáil. In his statement of 15 May 1957 he contrasted the budget sharply with the unfilled pre-election promises of Fianna Fáil : "On behalf of my unemployed colleagues, I want to make it quite clear that we are opposed completely to this Budget, firstly, because it does nothing to relieve unemployment and there is no indication of any plans by the Government to bring about increased employment. In fact, this Budget will worsen the unemployment position by reducing the purchasing power of the people. Secondly, we are opposed to it because it inflicts a greater hardship on the suffering unemployed, old age pensioners, widows and the lower income groups. The demands of the unemployed are quite simple and realistic: that the Government should immediately take what measures it intends taking to alleviate unemployment. We do not want merely words and paper proposals; we want action based on concrete proposals."

However given the majority that Fianna Fáil enjoyed within the government, Murphy realised that even if he could force a vote on the budget he would inevitably lose and so further debate on the issue would serve little purpose but to waste time.

He next tried to put pressure on the government to scale back the proposed cuts via "people power", stating "the unemployed are a force to be reckoned with. Flesh and blood, not just something the statistician jumbles around with.", he began mobilising supporters to stage a series of high profile street demonstrations. To escalate things further, along with two other members of the UPC (Tommy Kavanagh and Jimmy Byrne) Murphy began a hunger strike in opposition to the budget. Each evening they addressed thousands of supporters who assembled at protest meetings in Dublin at the corner of Abbey Street and O'Connell Street.

The hunger strikers initially garnered much support from trade unions. Against this background a series of one day industrial strikes and actions against the government became a real possibility.

However, on the fourth day of the protest, after winning the small concession from the Government with the announcement that it would reintroduce controls on the price of bread, it was decided to end the hunger strike. The ending of the hunger strike meant organised industrial strike action was no longer considered possible.

Realising he could not stand against the proposed budget on his own in the Dáil and that the demonstrations on the streets were not having the desired political impact, Murphy then tried another approach by contacting established society figures in an effort to garner support in order to lobby against the cuts.

Unfortunately, he made the (fatal) mistake of attempting to enlist the aid of the powerful and conservative Catholic Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid. McQuaid eventually did meet with Murphy alone but instead of providing any assistance to the embattled TD he began to put pressure on Murphy to break with the UPC on the basis that communists were using him via the committee. McQuaid's official response to his meeting with Murphy was that he could not interfere in political decisions - an announcement which flew in the face of his actions the previous year when he publicly dictated to the previous Government over the ill-fated Mother and Child Scheme. Shortly afterwards McQuaid formally denounced the unemployment movement - a move which at a single stroke ended the possibility of Murphy enlisting any support from other church figures or from any other high profile individuals.

In addition to such major public reversals, Murphy also faced with a growing dissatisfaction at the lack of political progress coming from supporters. Moreover he was by now being forced to defend against pressure coming from within the ranks of the UPC itself for him to take a more left-leaning agenda.

Murphy himself had been adamant since the beginning that the UPC had been formed solely to spotlight the issues of emigration and unemployment in Ireland and therefore was never intended to be "a political entity as such" - but its surprise election success had attracted many new supporters, not all of whom shared his views. Once Murphy had been elected to Leinster House, he became largely removed from the day to day operations of the committee. Without his stewardship the UPC itself had become increasingly dominated by other individuals who saw the UPC not as he did, as a vehicle solely dedicated to highlighting emigration/unemployment issues, but rather as a potentially viable platform for wider agendas and sweeping political change in Ireland. Their repeated attempts to influence Murphy to promote their agenda - and his steadfast refusal to do the same - meant that the UPC meetings became characterised by growing friction, with clashes between the highly charged-political committee and the increasingly marginalised Murphy becoming more common.

Under severe strain and personal attack from all sides Murphy thus began to disassociate himself from UPC activities. In August 1957 he formally broke with the committee. Ultimately, less than a year later, on Saturday 13 May 1958 he yielded to the mounting pressure and resigned his seat in protest at the indifference of the main political parties to the plight of the unemployed. The subsequent by-election was won by Patrick Cummins of Fianna Fáil.

Of his resignation Murphy later stated: "I was fed up with the callous indifference of the big parties to the situation of the workers. I resigned as a protest against appalling indifference of those parties to the unemployed... When Mr de Valera was nominated for Taoiseach, I opposed him because he had broken his promise on unemployment and emigration. I told the house that my presence there was a symbol of broken promises. I said that I would support any scheme to put an end to mass unemployment and emigration. But in my 15 months in the Dáil, no-one put forward such a scheme."

Immediately following his resignation as a TD, Murphy, now once again unemployed, discovered to his dismay that as a result of his cards not being stamped during his time in office he was no longer eligible for full assistance and was reduced to living on the meagre sum of £2 1 shilling per week for his entire family. Faced with this situation he reluctantly made the decision to emigrate to Canada in 1959. He stated "Since Christmas I have been unable to get any work, apart from a couple of weeks. The building trade is finished. But there is plenty of work if only the Government would put up the money for it instead of putting millions into the purchase of jet planes. Irish tradesmen have emigrated in thousands. And they will continue to go. There is no hope for them here. Many people will say that I am quitting, pulling out in failure. But mostly they will be people with good, solid jobs. IF I SAW THE SLIGHTEST HOPE, I WOULD STAY. I REPEAT THAT. But it broke my heart to see my wife trying to get along on a few shillings a week."

Following his resignation, Murphy emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada, where his sister Molly and her husband Micheal Durnin lived. Once he arrived he set about seeking employment but carpentry work in Saskatchewan at that time was hard to get. In January 1960 he was visited by another Dublin man from Francis St named Joe Johnston who at the time was in the Canadian Armed Forces, Signal Corps. Johnston had just been posted to Regina after a large winter army exercise near Alberta, he heard about an Irish family who were living in Regina and tracked them down. He says "The first time I met Jack, I was shocked to find him and his family living in a small 1 bedroom shack without heating buried under huge snow drifts. It was bitterly cold and their situation was grim. It turns out that while Jack had managed to get some work as a carpenter with a company called "Sash And Door" during the Spring, he had been laid off in the winter due to the seasonal nature of Canadian construction (which of course he hadn't been aware of before his arrival)". Johnston noted wryly at the time that despite Murphy's emigration to Canada "It seemed things were going from bad to worse for Jack, and he was just as unemployed in Regina as he had been in Dublin".

However despite these initial difficulties, Murphy eventually did find part-time work in carpentry. His woodworking skills were ably demonstrated by a detailed carving he did for a Sergeant Stankey of the Canadian Army NCO's mess which he was introduced to by Johnston. Thanks to this and other jobs he did for members of the same establishment, Murphy was eventually voted in as an associate member. Johnston recalled later "Being an associate member of the NCO's mess was a much sought after honour in that region. It was quite funny to me at the time, although not to some others who voted against us, that Jack (who was after all a convicted republican) was invited to be an associate member of an army mess. For his part, Jack made some notable contributions - some beautiful carvings - including one particular one I remember which had a maple leaf and shamrock intertwined which was proudly put by Stankey behind the bar on display".

"It's true Jack had a colourful past, but the great thing about Canada was that at that time they didn't hold sins committed in the "old world" against you. In the final analysis I think the most people there recognised right away that regardless of his political background Jack was an honest man, with an excellent work ethic and a real craftsman who held his own work and that of others to very high standards. In fact once word got out about his experience and skills, he became very much sought after by the staff and regulars alike because of his first rate advice on any building project or maintenance of houses. And of course he was a terrific speaker and debater, and unlike many he was good company no matter on which side of the political debate you stood. So despite the stiff initial opposition to him from some quarters, eventually everyone came around and he became very popular."

Murphy made a number of other friends while in Regina including Al Thompson, who was from a very old famous building company family, and was married into the Lavery family who had very strong attachments to Ireland. He was also a friend of Arthur Lavery who later returned to Ireland and became a solicitor. After a number of years, due to homesickness, Murphy returned with his family to Ireland as the economic situation in his native country had improved and there was more opportunities for work than existed in 1959 when emigration was at its peak.

Jack Murphy returned to Ireland with his family in 1964. He lived for a short spell in Dublin's York Street before moving out to the suburbs of Coolock, on the north side of Dublin City. He continued working as a carpenter on various building sites around Dublin. His last place of employment was at Cadburys in Coolock. He worked there until 1982 when he took ill. He died on 11 July 1984, aged 64 years.

In the wake of his resignation and emigration to Canada, Murphy became a convenient scape-goat and was pilloried by established politicians, rivals and even certain former supporters. Indeed for the remainder of his life he endured an unrelentingly hostile and negative campaign from many quarters which attempted to put an unfavourable "spin" on both his intentions and his actions as a TD. He later responded to several of the chief accusations laid against him in the article "Why I left Ireland" as told to Jim Flanagan which was published in The Sunday Review on 29 March 1959.

One accusation is he used his influence as a TD to cheat the system and assist supporters. However Murphy himself stated emphatically to Jim Flanagan in this article how he was careful to avoid abusing his influence as a TD. For example he refused to get jobs for people, as other TDs both before and after him did as a matter of course, rather electing to help people via existing support structures: "I did what I could, for they were all my friends... [but] there was far too much place hunting, [however] as far as I could I helped those who were in trouble, mainly through the labour exchange."

Another allegation of note which was circulated against Murphy after his emigration to Canada was that over the fifteen months he worked as a TD he had secretly hoarded large amounts of money from his monthly salary at the expense of his supporters and then "ran off to Canada with a fortune". This accusation is evidently disproved by even the most cursory examination of Murphy's later status and circumstance. Immediately following his resignation he was once again unemployed and in a move contrary to his own avowed principles and stated desires he was forced to emigrate due to a combination of a lack of funds and being blacklisted by employers for being too political. His subsequent dire initial situation in Canada, his continued lack of money upon his return to Ireland, and the telling fact that he worked for the remainder of his life in factories and building sites as a carpenter until his premature death all clearly demonstrate daily financial struggle. Moreover, during his time in office, articles of the period saluted Murphy for distributing the majority of his salary in donations to families in distress and old persons in dire poverty - with he himself drawing from his parliamentary pay no more than the equivalent salary of a qualified carpenter.

Other charges later laid against Murphy take the form of more direct ad hominem attacks. There were several examples of these, most notably those catalogued in "The Communist Party of Ireland, A Critical History, Part 3" which bewails Murphy's "political inexperience" along with implied egotism behind the assertion that he resigned and emigrated because he could "neither act as Dáil mouthpiece for or national leader of the movement". This article attributes an egotism to Murphy which is notably absent in any other recorded sources. Indeed independent articles of the day (that is written and published by neither the UPC nor its associates) refer to Murphy as "quite free from personal vanity or presumption" and speak of his "honesty, integrity and sincerity". In addition on no occasion did Murphy ever seek, or claim, "leadership" of the unemployed or any other movement - on the contrary it is very noticeable that in both his own published writings and in his speeches to the Dáil he very seldom refers to himself at all (preferring to talk in terms of "we, the unemployed") but whenever he does speak of himself in first person, he referred to himself as merely a "representative" of the unemployed.

A final accusation made against Murphy in absentia after his emigration was that he resigned and left Ireland because he was not up to the task of solving the emigration and unemployment issues or that he reneged on promises to do the same. In fact Murphy himself explicitly stated at the time of his election that he never intended to solve the unemployment crises. Instead he specifically says that his sole purpose in the Dáil is to allow the unemployed voice their concern and put pressure on the political parties in government to make good on election promises to address these critical issues: "We shall continue to focus the plight of the unemployed in Dáil Éireann by our representation, who was not put there to solve this scourge of unemployment, but to put added pressure on the political parties who have it in their power to bring about some measure of relief to the unemployed and to ensure the future of the employed."

Jack Murphy's repeated his efforts to bring these same urgent national issues to debate in the Dáil during his term. The numerous recorded speeches he made during his term in office show his integrity, sincerity and the commitment he had to fulfilling his promise to highlighting the plight of the unemployed - a commitment which ultimately exacted a heavy toll on both his own health and his family.

"I tried hard all along and no one can say that I did not try to spot-light the problems and evils of our country."

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Charles Haughey

 A Toast to Charles Haughey
 A Forum Gathering
Charles Haughey
 Charles James "Charlie" Haughey (16 September 1925 – 13 June 2006) was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving three terms in office (from December 1979 to June 1981, March 1982 to December 1982, and March 1987 to February 1992). He was also the fourth leader of Fianna Fáil (from 1979 until 1992). Haughey was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Teachta Dála (TD) in 1957 and was re-elected in every election until 1992, he represented the Dublin North–East, Dublin Artane and Dublin North–Central constituencies. Haughey also served as Minister for Health and Social Welfare (1977–1979), Minister for Finance (1966–1970), Minister for Agriculture (1964–1966) and Minister for Justice (1961–1964). He also served as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Justice during the early years of his parliamentary career.

Haughey is generally regarded as the dominant Irish politician of his generation, as well as the most controversial. Upon entering government in the early 1960s, Haughey became the symbol of a new vanguard of Irish ministers, with a promising future in service to the Republic. As Taoiseach, he is credited by some economists as starting the positive transformation of the economy in the late 1980s. However, his career was also marked by several major scandals. Haughey was implicated in the Arms Crisis of 1970, which nearly destroyed his career. His political reputation revived, his tenure as Taoiseach was then damaged by the sensational GUBU Affair in 1982; his party leadership was challenged four times, each time unsuccessfully, earning Haughey the nickname "The Great Houdini." Revelations about his role in a phone tapping scandal forced him to resign as Taoiseach and retire from politics in 1992.

After Haughey's retirement, further revelations of corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion and a 27-year extra-marital affair tarnished his reputation. He died of prostate cancer in 2006 at the age of eighty.

He was born in Castlebar, County Mayo in 1925, the third of seven children of John Haughey and Sarah McWilliams, both natives of Swatragh, County Londonderry, Catholic nationalists in what would become part of Northern Ireland. Haughey's father was in the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence, then in the army of the Irish Free State. His father left the army in 1928 and the family moved to County Meath. His father developed multiple sclerosis and the family moved to Donnycarney, where Haughey spent his youth.

Haughey was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers at St. Joseph's secondary school in Fairview, where one of his classmates was George Colley, subsequently his cabinet colleague and rival in Fianna Fáil. In his youth, he was an amateur sportsman, playing Gaelic football with the Parnell GAA Club in Donnycarney. Haughey read Commerce at University College Dublin (UCD) where he took a First Class Honours degree in 1946. It was at UCD that Haughey became increasingly interested in politics and was elected Auditor of the Commerce and Economics Society. He also met there with one of his future political rivals, Garret FitzGerald.

He joined the Local Defence Force during The Emergency of 1939–1945 and considered a permanent career in the Army. He continued to serve with the Army Reserve through its transition to the F.C.Á. until entering the Dáil in 1957.

On VE-day Haughey and other UCD students burnt the British Union Jack on College Green, outside Trinity College, Dublin, in response to a perceived disrespect afforded the Irish tricolour among the flags hung by the College in celebration of the Allied victory which ended World War II.

Haughey qualified as a Chartered Accountant and also attended King's Inns subsequently being called to the Irish Bar. Shortly afterwards he set up the accountancy firm of Haughey, Boland & Company with Harry Boland, son of Fianna Fáil minister Gerald Boland.

On 18 September 1951, he married Maureen Lemass, the daughter of the Fianna Fáil Minister and future Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, having been close to her since their days at UCD, where they first met. They had four children together – Eimear, Conor, Ciarán and Seán.

After selling his house in Raheny, in 1969 Haughey bought Abbeville, located at Kinsealy, north County Dublin, an historic house – once owned by Anglo-Irish politician John Beresford (d. 1805) for whom it had been extensively re-designed by the architect James Gandon in the late 18th century. Haughey purchased its existing estate of approximately 250 acres at the same time. It became the family home and he lived there for the rest of his life.

He started his political career as a local councillor, first failing in a by-election to Dáil Éireann. Haughey's first attempt at election to the Dáil came in June 1951, when he unsuccessfully contested the general election. While living in Raheny, Haughey was first elected to the Dáil as a Fianna Fáil TD at the 1957 general election for the Dublin North–East constituency. It was his fourth attempt.

Haughey was re-elected in every election until 1992, he represented the Dublin North–East constituency from 1957 until 1973. The constituency lines were redrawn under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1974 in an attempt to secure re-election for the sitting Fine Gael-Labour Party government in the 1977 election and Haughey represented Dublin Artane in 1977, this constituency was abolished in 1981 and most of Haughey's electoral area was moved into the reformed Dublin North–Central constituency which he served from 1981 until his retirement in 1992.

Haughey obtained his first government position, that of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Justice, and his constituency colleague, Oscar Traynor, in 1960. It is unclear whether the choice was made by Lemass directly as Taoiseach, or by the cabinet against his wishes. Lemass had advised Haughey;
As Taoiseach it is my duty to offer you the post of parliamentary secretary, and as your father-in-law I am advising you not to take it.
Haughey ignored Lemass's advice and accepted the offer. Though as the junior to Oscar Traynor, Haughey was the de facto minister. Haughey and Traynor clashed openly. Defenders of Haughey portray the disagreement as being due to his ability and radical ideas, which were upsetting for the more conservative older minister.

Haughey came to epitomise the new style of politician – the "men in the mohair suits". He regularly socialised with other younger Cabinet colleagues such as Donogh O'Malley and Brian Lenihan.
By day he impressed the Dáil. By night he basked in the admiration of a fashionable audience in the Russell Hotel. There, or in Dublin's more expensive restaurants, the company included artists, musicians and entertainers, professionals, builders and business people. His companions, Lenihan and O'Malley, took mischievous delight in entertaining the Russell with tales of the Old Guard. O'Malley in turn entertained the company in Limerick's Brazen Head or Cruise's Hotel with accounts of the crowd in the Russell. On the wings of such tales Haughey's reputation spread.
Haughey's status by 1961 was such that Opposition Leader James Dillon complimented him lavishly on the floor of the Dáil, remarking on his opponent's "skill with which he has had recourse to his brief," as well as his "extraordinary erudition" and "his exceptional and outstanding ability."

When Traynor retired in 1961, Haughey succeeded him as Minister for Justice. As such, he initiated an extensive scale of legislative reforms. He introduced new legislation including the Adoption Act; the Succession Act, which protected the inheritance rights of wives and children,; the Criminal Justice Act, which abolished capital punishment; and the Extradition Act, which virtually prevented extradition for IRA offences. Haughey also introduced the Special Military Courts which helped to defeat the Irish Republican Army's Border Campaign.

In 1962 Lemass appointed Haughey as Minister for Agriculture. Criticism from the National Farmers Association (NFA) of the appointment of a non-rural person to head Irish agriculture was voiced, and led to increased antagonism from farmers towards the government. Haughey became embroiled in a series of controversies with the NFA (National Farmers Association) and another organisation, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA). 27 ICSMA picketers outside Leinster House (the parliament building) were arrested on the 27 April 1966 under the Offences Against the State Act, an Act usually reserved for use against terrorists. 78 were arrested the following day, and 80 a day later, as the dispute escalated. This was an excessive step against farmers who were protesting on issues affecting their economic livelihood. The general public was supportive of the farmers, who were not in a position to hold a strike to air their grievances, and who were clearly only posing a problem to the minister, rather than the state. The farmers for their part, now started a national solidarity campaign, where even farmers who supported Fianna Fáil, turned stubbornly against the government. Haughey, who did not rely on rural voters, was under intense pressure from fearful members of his own party to negotiate a deal and de-escalate tension. Eventually Haughey backed down from the confrontation, for electoral reasons connected to the imminent presidential election. It was Haughey's first alienation of a significant voting block, and probably damaged him electorally in later years as many farmers remembered the events, known in folk memory as the 'Farmers Strike'.

Haughey played a controversial role in the 1966 Irish presidential election. He had been appointed the Fianna Fáil campaign manager, to run President de Valera's re-election campaign. His interventions proved highly controversial. Fine Gael chose a young Teachta Dála and barrister, Tom O'Higgins (nephew of Kevin O'Higgins) to run against de Valera. Aware that de Valera's age (84) and almost total blindness might compare unfavourably to O'Higgins, whose campaigns drew comparisons with the equally youthful United States president of Irish descent, John F. Kennedy, Haughey launched what was seen as a political stroke. He insisted that it was beneath the presidency to actively campaign, meaning that de Valera would have a low profile. Therefore in the interests of fairness the media was recommended to also give O'Higgins a low profile, ignoring his speeches and publicity campaign. However the print media, both nationally and locally ignored Haughey's suggestion. But the state-run Telifís Éireann, facing criticism from Lemass' government for being too radical in other areas, agreed and largely ignored the O'Higgins campaign.

In reality de Valera got a high media profile from a different source, the Fiftieth Anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising, of which he was the most senior survivor. While O'Higgins's campaign was ignored by RTÉ, de Valera appeared in RTÉ coverage of the Rising events regularly. To add further to de Valera's campaign, Haughey as Agriculture Minister arranged for milk price increases to be given to farmers on the eve of polling, as a way of reducing farmer disquiet, when the farmers had effectively become an opposition movement to the government.

These tactics should have ensured an easy de Valera victory. Instead O'Higgins came to within less than one percent of winning the vote. The President was re-elected by a narrow margin of ten thousand votes out of a total of nearly one million. De Valera personally developed a highly negative view of Haughey, whom he came to distrust. In 1970, de Valera told Desmond O'Malley (now a rival of Haughey) that Haughey would "destroy" Fianna Fáil. De Valera's minister for Foreign Affairs and lifelong political confidant Frank Aiken also dismissed Haughey's political motives as being entirely selfish, and being motivated to hold power for its own sake and not duty.

In 1966, the Taoiseach, Seán Lemass retired. Haughey declared his candidature to succeed Lemass in the consequent leadership election. George Colley and Neil Blaney did likewise. With three strong candidates with strong and divisive views on the future of the party, the party elders sought to find a compromise candidate. Lemass himself, encouraged his Minister for Finance, Jack Lynch, to contest the party leadership. Lemass also encouraged Colley, Haughey and Blaney to withdraw in favour of Lynch, realising that they would not win the contest. However, Colley refused the Taoiseach's request and insisted on remaining in the race, but he was defeated by Lynch. Upon Lynch's election as Taoiseach, Haughey was appointed Minister for Finance by Lynch in a Cabinet reshuffle, which indicated that Haughey's withdrawal was a gain at the expense of Colley. Again Haughey showed a brilliant and radical streak. The inexpensive and socially inclusive initiatives caught the public imagination including popular decisions to introduce free travel on public transport for pensioners, subsidise electricity for pensioners, the granting of special tax concessions for the disabled and tax exemptions for artists. This increased Haughey's populist appeal, and his support from certain elements in the media and artistic community.

As Minister for Finance, Haughey on two occasions arranged foreign currency loans for the government which he then arranged to be left on deposit in foreign countries (Germany and the United States), in the local currency - instead of immediately changing the loans to the Irish currency and depositing in the Exchequer - these actions were unconstitutional, because it effectively meant that the Minister for Finance was making a currency speculation against his own currency. When this was challenged by the Comptroller and Auditor General Eugene Francis Suttle, Haughey introduced a law to retrospectively legalise his actions. The debate was very short and the record shows no understanding of the issue by the opposition finance spokesmen, O'Higgins for Fine Gael and Tully for Labour. The legislation was passed on 26 November 1969.

The late 1960s saw the old tensions boil over into an eruption of violence in Northern Ireland. Haughey was generally seen as coming from the pragmatist wing of the party, and was not believed to have strong opinions on the matter, despite having family links with Derry. Indeed many presumed that he had a strong antipathy to physical force Irish republicanism; during his period as Minister for Justice he had followed a tough anti-IRA line, including using internment without trial against the IRA. The hawks in the cabinet were seen as Kevin Boland and Neil Blaney, both sons of founding fathers in the party with strong Old IRA pasts. Blaney was also a TD for Donegal; a staunchly Republican area which bordered Derry. They were opposed by those described as the "doves" of the cabinet; Tánaiste Erskine Childers, George Colley and Patrick Hillery. A fund of £100,000 was set up to give to the Nationalist people in the form of aid. Haughey as Finance Minister would have a central role in the management of this fund.

There was general surprise when, in an incident known as the Arms Crisis, Haughey, along with Blaney, was sacked from Lynch's cabinet amid allegations of the use of the funds to import arms for use by the IRA. Opposition leader Liam Cosgrave was informed by the Garda that a plot to import arms existed and included government members. Cosgrave told Lynch he knew of the plot and would announce it in the Dáil next day if he didn't act. Lynch requested Haughey and Blaney submit their resignations to the President. Both men refused, saying they did nothing illegal. Lynch then asked the President to terminate their appointments as members of the government. Boland resigned in sympathy, while Micheál Ó Móráin was dismissed one day earlier in a preemptive strike to ensure a subservient Minister for Justice was in place when the crisis broke. Lynch chose government chief whip Desmond O'Malley for the role. Haughey and Blaney were subsequently tried in court along with an army Officer, Captain James Kelly, and Albert Luykx, a former Flemish National Socialist and businessman, who allegedly used his contacts to buy the arms. After trial all the accused were acquitted but many refused to recognise the verdict of the courts. Although cleared of wrong-doing, it looked as if Haughey's political career was finished. Blaney and Boland eventually resigned from Fianna Fáil but Haughey remained. He spent his years on the backbenches - the wilderness years - building support within the grassroots of the party, during this time he remained loyal to the party and served the leader but after the debacle of the "arms crises" neither man trusted the other.

In 1975, Fianna Fáil was in opposition and Haughey had achieved enough grassroots support to warrant a recall to Jack Lynch's opposition Bench. At the time Lynch was harshly criticised in the media for this. Haughey was appointed Spokesman on Health and Social Welfare, a fairly minor portfolio at the time, but Haughey used the same imagination and skill he displayed in other positions to formulate innovative and far reaching policies. Two years later in 1977 Fianna Fáil returned to power with a massive parliamentary majority in Dáil Éireann, having had a very populist campaign (spearhead by Colley and O'Malley) to abolish rates, vehicle tax and other extraordinary concessions, which were short-lived. Haughey returned to the Cabinet after an absence of seven years as Minister for Health and Social Welfare.

In this position he continued the progressive policies he had shown earlier by, among others, beginning the first government anti-smoking campaigns and legalising contraception, previously banned. Following the finding by the Supreme Court in McGee v The Attorney General that there was a constitutional right to use contraceptives, he introduced The Family Planning Bill which proved to be highly controversial. The bill allowed a pharmacist to sell contraceptives on presentation of a medical prescription. Haughey called this bill "an Irish solution to an Irish problem". It is often stated that the recipient of the prescription had to be married, but the legislation did not include this requirement.

It was also during this period that Lynch began to lose his grip on the party, the economy faltered in the aftermath of energy crises and the fallout from the giveaway concessions that had re-elected the government under Lynch, led to a succession race to succeed Lynch. As well as this a group of backbenchers began to lobby in support of Haughey. This group, known as the "gang of five," consisted of Jackie Fahey, Tom McEllistrim, Seán Doherty, Mark Killilea, Jnr and Albert Reynolds. Haughey was also helped by the TD Síle de Valera. The granddaughter of Éamon de Valera, she was highly critical of Jack Lynch's policy regards the North. In a speech at the Liam Lynch commemoration at Fermoy on the 9th of September, de Valera made a series of thinly veiled attacks on Lynch. Although Lynch quickly tried to impose party discipline, attempting to discipline her for opposing party policy at a parliamentary party meeting held at the 28th, de Valera correctly pointed out that she had not opposed the party policy regarding the North which called for the declaration of the British intent to withdraw from the north. Lynch left for a trip to the United States on the 7th of November. On the same day the government lost two by-elections to Fine Gael in Cork City and in Cork North–East. During the trip Lynch claimed in an interview with the Washington Post that a five-kilometer air corridor between the border was agreed upon during the meeting with Thatcher to enhance security co-operation. This was something highly unsavoury to many in Fianna Fáil. When Lynch returned he was questioned on this by a Clare backbencher Bill Loughnane along with Tom McEllistrim at a parliamentary party meeting. Lynch stated that the British did not have permission to overfly the border. Afterwards Loughnane went public with the details of the meeting and accused Lynch of deliberately misleading the party. An attempt to remove the whip from Loughnane failed. At this stage Lynch's position had become untenable, with supporters of Haughey and George Colley caucusing opinion within the party.

In December 1979, Lynch announced his resignation as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil. The leadership contest that resulted was a two-horse race between Haughey and the Tánaiste, George Colley. Colley had the support of the entire Cabinet, with the exception of Michael O'Kennedy, and felt that this popularity would be reflected within the parliamentary party as a whole.

Haughey on the other hand was distrusted by a number of his Cabinet colleagues but was much more respected by new backbenchers who were worried about the safety of their Dáil seats. When the vote was taken Haughey emerged as the victor by a margin of 44 votes to 38, a very clear division within the party. In a conciliatory gesture, Colley was re-appointed as Tánaiste and had a veto over who Haughey would appoint as Ministers for Justice and Defence respectively. This was due to his distrust of Haughey on security issues (i.e. Arms Crisis). However, he was removed from the important position of Minister for Finance.

Nonetheless, on 11 December 1979, Charles Haughey was elected Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil, almost a decade after the Arms Crisis nearly destroyed his political career. In 2010, a founder of the Saatchi & Saatchi advertising firm, said that Haughey had asked for a ‘a new image’ similar to the one provided for Margaret Thatcher for the 1979 general election.

When Haughey came to power, the country was sinking into a deep economic crisis, following the 1979 energy crisis. Haughey effectively acted as his own Minister for Finance, ignoring the views of his minister. One of his first functions as Taoiseach was a televised address to the nation – only the third such address in the Republic's history – in which he outlined the bleak economic picture:

I wish to talk to you this evening about the state of the nation's affairs and the picture I have to paint is not, unfortunately, a very cheerful one. The figures which are just now becoming available to us show one thing very clearly. As a community we are living away beyond our means. I don't mean that everyone in the community is living too well, clearly many are not and have barely enough to get by, but taking us all together we have been living at a rate which is simply not justified by the amount of goods and services we are producing. To make up the difference we have been borrowing enormous amounts of money, borrowing at a rate which just cannot continue. A few simple figures will make this very clear...we will just have to reorganise government spending so that we can only undertake those things we can afford...
—Charles Haughey, 9 January 1980
While Haughey had identified the problem with the economy he did the exact opposite of what he said he would do. He increased public spending, which soon became out of control, and led to increases in borrowing and taxation at an unacceptable level. By 1981 Haughey was still reasonably popular and decided to call a general election. However, the timing of the election was thwarted twice by external events, in particular the hunger strikes of IRA volunteers for political status. The Anti H-Block Committee announced that they would field abstentionist candidates which many predicted correctly would take Republican votes away from Fianna Fáil. The Stardust Disaster, a fire destroyed a night club in Haughey's constituency and claimed the lives of 48 young people caused Haughey to delay the Ard Fheis and the election. The poll was eventually held in June, much later than Haughey wanted. In the hope of winning an overall Dáil majority Haughey's campaign took a populist line with regard to taxation, spending and Northern Ireland. The campaign was enhanced and hyped up by a live debate on RTÉ between Haughey and the Fine Gael leader, Garret FitzGerald, over the major issues. On the day of the vote Fianna Fáil won 45.5%. Failing to secure a majority in the 166-seat Dáil a Fine Gael–Labour Party coalition came to power under FitzGerald and Haughey went into opposition.

Within days of his becoming Taoiseach, Allied Irish Banks forgave Haughey £400,000 of a £1,000,000 debt. No reason was given for this. The Economist obituary on Haughey (24 June 2006) asserted that he had warned the bank "I can be a very troublesome adversary".

FitzGerald's government lasted until January 1982 when it collapsed due to a controversial budget which proposed the application of Value Added Tax to children's shoes, previously exempt.

FitzGerald, no longer having a majority in the Dáil, went to Áras an Uachtaráin to advise President Hillery to dissolve the Dáil and call a general election. However, the night the government collapsed the Fianna Fáil Front Bench issued a statement encouraging the President not to grant the dissolution and to allow Fianna Fáil to form a government. Phone calls were also made to the President by Brian Lenihan. Haughey, on attempting to contact his former colleague, the President and on failing to be put through to the President was reported to have threatened the President's aide de camp by telling him that he would be Taoiseach one day and when that happened, I intend to roast your fucking arse if you don't put me through immediately.

A biography of Hillery blames Haughey for the sex scandal rumours which almost destroyed the Presidency of Hillery in 1979.

After the February 1982 election, when Haughey failed to win an overall majority again, questions were raised about his leadership. Some of Haughey's critics in the party suggested that an alternative candidate should stand as the party's nominee for Taoiseach. Desmond O'Malley emerged as the likely alternative candidate and was ready to challenge Haughey for the leadership. However, on the day of the vote O'Malley withdrew and Haughey went forward as the nominee. He engineered confidence and supply agreements with the Independent Socialist TD, Tony Gregory (in return for £100 million of investment in the Dublin North Inner City; a deal dubbed the Gregory Deal), the Independent Fianna Fáil TD Neil Blaney and three Workers' Party TDs, which saw him return as Taoiseach for a second time.

Haughey's second term was dominated by even more economic mismanagement, based on Haughey's policy of using government policy and money, in an effort to induce a sufficiently large share of the electorate to vote him his elusive 'overall majority' in the national assembly. With Haughey and his supporters taking a dangerously populist line in every area of policy, and refusing to address serious shortcomings in the performance of the state, a growing minority in his own party were becoming increasingly concerned. The issue of his leadership cropped up again when in October the backbench TD, Charlie McCreevy, put down a motion of no-confidence in Haughey. Desmond O'Malley disagreed with the timing but supported the hasty motion of no confidence all the same. O'Malley resigned from the Cabinet prior to the vote as he was going to vote against Haughey. A campaign now started that was extremely vicious on the side of Haughey's supporters, with threats made to the careers of those who dissented from the leadership. After a marathon 15 hour party meeting, Haughey, who insisted on a roll-call as opposed to a secret ballot, and won the open ballot by 58 votes to 22. Not long after this, Haughey's government collapsed when the Workers' Party TD's and Tony Gregory withdrew their support for the government over a Fianna Fáil policy document called "The Way Forward," which would lead to massive spending cuts. Fianna Fáil lost the November 1982 election and FitzGerald once again returned as Taoiseach at the head of a Fine Gael/Labour coalition with a comfortable Dáil majority. Haughey found himself back in opposition.

During this tenure of Haughey, the GUBU Incidents, involving the Attorney General to his Government, occurred in Dublin. At a press-conference on the affair, Haughey was paraphrased as having described the affair as "grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented", from which journalist and former politician Conor Cruise O'Brien coined the term GUBU.

Haughey's leadership came under scrutiny for a third time when a report linked Haughey with the phone tapping of political journalists. In spite of huge pressure Haughey refused to resign and survived yet another vote of no-confidence in early 1983, albeit with a smaller majority. Haughey's success was partly due to the death of the Fianna Fáil TD, Clement Coughlan, a supporter of O'Malley. Haughey's supporters managed to have the meeting moved to the following week after the funeral, which gave him more time to manoeuver. Having failed three times to oust Haughey, most of his critics gave up and returned to normal politics.

In May 1984 the New-Ireland Forum Report was published. Haughey was involved in the drafting of this at the time he was in office and had agreed to potential scenarios for improving the political situation of Northern Ireland. However on publication, Haughey rejected it and said the only possible solution was a United Ireland. This statement was criticised by the other leaders who forged the New-Ireland Forum, John Hume, Garret FitzGerald and Dick Spring. Desmond O'Malley supported the Forum report and criticised Haughey's ambiguous position, accusing him of stifling debate. At a Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting to discuss the report, the whip was removed from O'Malley, which meant he was no longer a Fianna Fáil TD. Ironically when Haughey returned to power he embraced the Anglo-Irish Agreement that had developed from the New-Ireland Forum Report.
In early 1985 a bill was introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour government to liberalise the sale of contraceptives in the country. Fianna Fáil in opposition opposed the bill. O'Malley supported it as a matter of principle rather than a political point to oppose for opposition's sake. On the day of the vote O'Malley spoke in the Dáil chamber stated:
But I do not believe that the interests of this State or our Constitution and of this Republic would be served by putting politics before conscience in regard to this .... I stand by the Republic and accordingly, I will not oppose this Bill..
He abstained rather than vote with the government. Despite this Haughey moved against O'Malley and in February 1985, O'Malley was charged with "conduct un-becoming".. At a Party Meeting, even though O'Malley did not have the Party whip, he was expelled from the Fianna Fáil organisation by 73 votes to 9 in roll-call vote. With George Colley dead, O'Malley expelled and other critics silenced, Haughey was finally in full control of Fianna Fáil.

O'Malley decided to form a new political party and 21 December 1985, Desmond O'Malley announced the formation of the Progressive Democrats. Several Fianna Fáil TDs joined including Mary Harney and Bobby Molloy.

In November 1985, the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed between Garret FitzGerald and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The agreement gave the Republic of Ireland a formal say in Northern Ireland and its affairs. As was the case with the New Ireland Forum Report, the Anglo-Irish Agreement was harshly criticised by Haughey, who said that he would re-negotiate it, if re-elected. FitzGerald called a general election for February 1987. The campaign was dominated by attacks on the government over severe cuts in the budget and the general mismanagement of the economy. When the results were counted Haughey had failed once again to win an overall majority for Fianna Fáil. When it came to electing a Taoiseach in the Dáil Haughey's position looked particularly volatile. When it came to a vote the Independent TD Tony Gregory abstained, seeing Haughey as the "lesser of two evils" (the reason for this was Gregory's personal Republican convictions and his opposition to the Anglo-Irish agreement). Haughey was elected Taoiseach on the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle.

Haughey now headed a minority Fianna Fáil government. Fine Gael under leader Alan Dukes took the unprecedented move in the famous Tallaght strategy of supporting the government and voting for it when it came to introducing tough economic policies. The national debt had doubled under Fitzgerald so the government introduced budget cuts in all departments, the cuts were much more severe and effective than when FitzGerald was in power. The taxation system was transformed to encourage enterprise and employment. The actions that were taken by Haughey's government in this period certainly transformed the economy. One of the major schemes put forward, and one which would have enormous economic benefits for the country, was the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin.

In late April 1989, Haughey returned from a trip to Japan, to the news that the government was about to be defeated in a Dáil vote, which would result in Haughey having to call a general election. The government was indeed defeated and Haughey, buoyed up by opinion polls which indicated the possibility of winning an overall majority, called a general election for 15 June. However Fianna Fáil ended up losing four seats and the possibility of forming another minority government looked slim.

For the first time in history a nominee for Taoiseach failed to achieve a majority when a vote was taken in the Dáil. Constitutionally Haughey was obliged to resign, however he refused to, for a short period. He eventually tendered his resignation to President Hillery and remained on as Taoiseach, albeit in an acting capacity. A full 27 days after the election had taken place a coalition government was formed between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. It was the first time that Fianna Fáil had entered into a coalition, abandoning one of its "core values" in the overwhelming need to form a government.[7]

Haughey, in 1990, had more difficulties. The first half of the year saw Haughey in a leading role as European statesman when Ireland held the presidency of the European Community, which rotates semi-annually between the member states of the European Union. The Presidential election was disappointing for Haughey with Brian Lenihan, the Tánaiste, who was nominated as the party's candidate, being defeated by Mary Robinson. During the campaign the controversy over the phone calls made to the Áras an Uachtaráin in 1982 urging the then President not to dissolve the Dáil resurfaced. Lenihan was accused of calling and attempting to influence the President, who as Head of State is above politics. It is suggested that Haughey was forced by O'Malley to sack Lenihan in order to save the government, and stay on as Taoiseach. This damaged Haughey's standing in the organisation.

Haughey's grip on political power began to slip in the autumn of 1991. A series of resignations by chairmen of semi-state companies and an open declaration by the Minister for Finance, Albert Reynolds, that he had every intention of standing for the party leadership if Haughey retired. Following a heated parliamentary party meeting, Seán Power, one of Reynolds's supporters put down a motion of no-confidence in Haughey. Reynolds and his supporters were sacked from the government by Haughey, who went on to win the no-confidence motion by 55 votes to 22.

Haughey's victory was short-lived, as a series of political errors would lead to his demise as Taoiseach. Controversy erupted over the attempted appointment of Jim McDaid as Minister for Defence, which saw him resign from the post before he had been officially installed, under pressure from O'Malley. Worse was to follow when Seán Doherty, the man who as Minister for Justice had taken the blame for the phone-tapping scandal of the early 1980s, went on RTÉ television, and after ten years of insisting that Haughey knew nothing of the tapping, claimed that Haughey had known and authorised it. Haughey denied this, but the Progressive Democrats members of the government stated that they could no longer continue in government with Haughey as Taoiseach. Haughey told Desmond O'Malley, the Progressive Democrats leader, that he intended to retire shortly but wanted to choose his own time of departure. O'Malley agreed to this and the government continued.

On 30 January 1992, Haughey retired as leader of Fianna Fáil at a parliamentary party meeting. He remained as Taoiseach until 11 February when he was succeeded by the sacked Finance Minister, Albert Reynolds. In his final address to the Dáil he quoted Othello saying inter alia, "I have done the state some service, they know it, no more of that." Haughey then returned to the backbenches before retiring from politics at the 1992 general election. His son, Seán Haughey, was elected at that election in his father's old constituency. Sean Haughey was appointed as a Junior Minister in the Department of Education and Science in December 2006.

Haughey's personal wealth and extravagant lifestyle – he owned racehorses, a large motor sailing yacht Celtic Mist, a private island, and a Gandon-designed mansion – had long been a point of curious speculation; he had refused throughout his career to answer any questions about how he financed this lifestyle on a government salary. Despite his professed desire to fade from public attention, these questions followed him into retirement, eventually exploding into a series of political, financial and personal scandals tarnished his image and reputation.

In 1997, a government-appointed tribunal led by Judge Brian McCracken first revealed that Haughey had received substantial monetary gifts from businessmen, and that he had held secret offshore bank accounts in the Ansbacher Bank in the Cayman Islands. Haughey faced criminal charges for obstructing the work of the McCracken tribunal. His trial on these charges was postponed indefinitely after the judge in the case found that he would not be able to get a fair trial following prejudicial comments by the then PD leader and Tánaiste Mary Harney.

In 1997 the public were shocked by allegations that Haughey had embezzled money that was a subvention to the Fianna Fáil Party; money that was from central Government's taxpayer's funds for the operation of a political party and that he had spent large sums of these funds on Charvet shirts and expensive dinners in a top Dublin restaurant while preaching belt-tightening and implementing budget cuts as a national policy.[39]

The subsequent Moriarty Tribunal delved further into Haughey's financial dealings. In his main report on Charles Haughey released on 19 December 2006, Mr. Justice Moriarty made the following findings:
  • Haughey was paid more than IR£8 million between 1979 and 1986 from various benefactors and businessmen, including £1.3 million from the Dunnes Stores supermarket tycoon Ben Dunne alone. The tribunal described these payments as "unethical".
  • In May 1989 one of Haughey's lifelong friends Brian Lenihan, a former government minister, underwent a liver transplant which was partly paid for through fundraising by Haughey. The Moriarty tribunal found that, of the £270,000 collected in donations for Brian Lenihan, no more than £70,000 ended up being spent on Lenihan's medical care. The tribunal identified one specific donation of £20,000 for Lenihan that was surreptitiously appropriated by Haughey, who took steps to conceal this transaction.
  • The tribunal found evidence of favours performed in return for money – Saudi businessman Mahmoud Fustok paid Haughey £50,000 to support applications for Irish citizenship.
  • In other evidence of favours performed, the tribunal reported that Haughey arranged meetings between Ben Dunne and civil servant Seamus Pairceir of the Revenue Commissioners. These discussions resulted in an outstanding capital gains tax bill for Dunne being reduced by £22.8 million. Moriarty found that this was "not coincidental", and that it was a substantial benefit conferred on Dunne by Haughey's actions.
  • Allied Irish Banks settled a million-pound overdraft with Haughey soon after he became Taoiseach in 1979; the tribunal found that the lenience shown by the bank in this case amounted to an indirect payment by the bank to Haughey.
The tribunal rejected Haughey's claims of ignorance of his own financial affairs and Haughey was accused by the tribunal of "devaluing democracy".

Haughey eventually agreed a settlement with the revenue and paid a total of € 6.5 million in back taxes and penalties to the Revenue Commissioners in relation to these donations. In August 2003 Haughey was forced to sell his large estate, Abbeville, in Kinsealy in north County Dublin for €45 million to settle legal fees he had incurred during the tribunals. He continued to live at Abbeville and own the island of Inishvickillane off the coast of County Kerry until his death.

In May 1999, Terry Keane, gossip columnist and once wife of former Chief Justice, Ronan Keane, revealed on The Late Late Show that she and Haughey had conducted a 27-year extramarital affair. In a move that she subsequently said she deeply regretted, Keane confirmed that the man she had been referring to for years in her newspaper column as "sweetie" was indeed Haughey. The revelation on the television programme shocked at least some of the audience, including Haughey's son, Seán, who was watching the show. Haughey's wife, Maureen was also said to have been deeply hurt by the circumstances of the revelation.

Haughey's attendance before the tribunals had repeatedly been disrupted by illness. He died from prostate cancer, which he had suffered from for a decade, on 13 June 2006, at his home.

Haughey received a state funeral on 16 June 2006. He was buried in St. Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton in County Dublin following mass at Donnycarney. The then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern delivered the graveside oration.

The obsequy was screened live on RTÉ One and watched by a quarter of a million people. It was attended by President Mary McAleese, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, members of the Oireachtas, many from the world of politics, industry and business. The chief celebrant was Haughey's brother, Father Eoghan Haughey.

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald has said that he had the potential to be one of the best Taoisigh that the country ever had, had his preoccupation with wealth and power not clouded his judgement:
Charles Haughey spent much energy fending off leadership challenges, chasing an elusive Dáil majority and dealing with GUBU-like events."
He comes with a flawed pedigree. ... His motives can ultimately only be judged by God, but we cannot ignore the fact that he differs from his predecessors in that these motives have been widely impugned, most notably by those in his own party who have observed him over many years . .
Another former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said
He had an immense ability to get things done and he inspired great loyalty amongst many of his followers both inside and outside Fianna Fáil.

In recent times, these achievements have become clouded by the revelations that are the subject of inquiry by the Moriarty Tribunal. History will have to weigh up both the credit and the debit side more dispassionately than may be possible today, but I have no doubt its ultimate judgement on Mr Haughey will be a positive one.
Historian Diarmaid Ferriter said,
He was a very promising minister in the '60s, but once he became leader all he was concerned with was staying leader. It was always about the cult of leadership. His sense of himself was much more important than any vision he had for the country. People say he discovered fiscal rectitude in '87, and people talk about his contribution to Anglo-Irish affairs, but really if you try and look for any consistency in his affairs after the late '70s you can't find it because it's just about him.
Historian John A Murphy said,
His vision was one of personal vanity. I don't think history's assessment will be the one Bertie uttered over his grave.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Kevin Boland

Kevin Boland (15 October 1917 – 23 September 2001) was an Irish politician. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1957 as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Fianna Fáil. He served as Minister for Defence (1957–1961), Minister for Social Welfare (1961–1965) and Minister for Local Government (1965–1970). He holds the distinction of being one of only five TDs to be appointed Minister on their first day in the Dáil.

Born in Dublin in 1917, Kevin Boland was the son of Gerald Boland, a founder-member of Fianna Fáil, and the nephew of Harry Boland. Despite this, the young Boland failed to get elected to Dáil Éireann on his first two attempts, standing in the Dublin County constituency at the 1951 general election and again at the 1954 election. It was third time lucky at the 1957 general election, when he was not only elected to the 16th Dáil but was appointed to the cabinet as Minister for Defence on his very first day in the Dáil. This was due to the retirement of his father who had served in every Fianna Fáil government since 1932.

The Defence portfolio was largely considered a safe and uncontroversial position, so Boland made only a small impact. As a minister he proudly displayed a fáinne (gold ring) on the lapel of his jacket, which indicated that he was able and willing to speak the Irish language. He frequently conducted his governmental business through the national language, which he was very good at and had won awards for it in school. In 1961 he was moved from Defence to become the Minister for Social Welfare. He remained there until the retirement in 1966 of the Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, when Fianna Fáil faced the first leadership contest in its history. He was then appointed minister for local government which post he held until he left government in 1970.

The leadership race immediately erupted as a two-horse battle between Charles Haughey and George Colley. Both of these men epitomised the new kind of professional politician of the 1960s. Things changed when Neil Blaney indicated his interest in running. Boland supported him in his campaign, as both men hailed from the republican wing of the party. There was talk at one point of Boland himself entering the leadership race. In the end Jack Lynch was settled on as a compromise, and he became the new Taoiseach. Boland was made Minister for Local Government in the new cabinet.

In 1969, events in Northern Ireland caused political chaos over the border in the Republic of Ireland. It was the start of The Troubles in Northern Ireland and Fianna Fáil's policy with regard to the North was coming into question. One crisis meeting was held after another, in which decisive action was needed. The "hawks" in the cabinet urged a symbolic invasion of Northern Ireland to protect nationalists near the border, and to draw international attention, while the "doves", who ultimately prevailed, urged caution. The cabinet meetings were heated events. On one occasion Boland was alleged to have been so angry that he resigned, not only his cabinet position, but also his Dáil seat and went home to his farm in County Dublin to make hay. The resignations were rejected by the Taoiseach after a calming down period. In what became known as the Arms Crisis, two ministers, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney were sacked from the government for gun-running for the Provisional IRA in May 1970. Boland resigned in solidarity with them and in protest to the government's position on the North. Later that year his criticism of the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, led to his expulsion from the Fianna Fáil party.

One of Boland's most famous incidents took place at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis (party conference) in 1971. Just before Jack Lynch's speech Boland stormed a nearby podium, interrupting Patrick Hillery in the middle of his speech. Boland openly defied the party leadership and his opponents, holding his arms wide open and shouting to the crowd, "Come on up and put me down." While there was a lot of booing and clapping in an effort to drown him out, many of his supporters started cheering and chanting "We want Boland." At this point an enraged Patrick Hillery grabbed his microphone and famously replied, "If you want a fight you can have it...You can have Boland, but you can't have Fianna Fáil." At this point the government supporters went ecstatic with cheering and Boland was carried out of the hall.

After this episode, Boland founded his own political party, Aontacht Éireann (Irish Unity). It won very little support and was wound up in 1984. Boland himself failed to be elected to the Dáil in 1973, which effectively ended his political career. He continued to remain an outspoken critic of the Republic's Northern Ireland policy, particularly the Sunningdale Agreement. He made one last attempt to reclaim a Dáil seat, standing unsuccessfully in the Dublin South–West constituency at 1981 general election. He then retired from public life completely.

Kevin Boland died in Dublin on 23 September 2001.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Florence Wycherley

Florence Wycherley (20 February 1908 – 23 April 1969) was an Irish politician. A farmer by trade, he first stood for election to Dáil Éireann as a Clann na Talmhan candidate at the 1954 general election for Cork West but was not elected. He was elected to the Dáil as an independent Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork West at the 1957 general election. He lost his seat at the 1961 general election.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Bartholomew "Batt" Donegan

Bartholomew "Batt" Donegan (21 December 1910 – 26 August 1978) was a Fianna Fáil politician from County Cork in Ireland. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1957 to 1961, and a Senator from 1963 to 1965.
A farmer and horse breeder, Donegan stood unsuccessfully as a Fianna Fáil candidate for Dáil Éireann in the Cork North constituency at the 1954 general election, before winning the seat at the 1957 general election. After boundary changes, he was defeated in the new Cork North–East constituency at the 1961 general election, and although he stood again in 1969 in Cork Mid, he never returned to the Dáil.

After the loss of his Dáil seat in 1961, Donegan was elected to the 10th Seanad in a by-election on the Agricultural Panel on 28 November 1963, but was defeated at the 1965 election to the 11th Seanad.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Augustine A. "Gus" Healy

Augustine A. "Gus" Healy (20 May 1904 – 10 July 1987) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. A dental laboratory proprietor, Healy was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for the Cork Borough constituency at the 1957 general election but lost his seat at the 1961 general election, and was instead nominated by the Taoiseach Seán Lemass to the 10th Seanad.

Healy regained his Dáil seat at the 1965 general election and, later representing Cork City South–East, retained his seat until retiring at the 1977 general election.

Healy also served as Lord Mayor of Cork in 1964–65 and 1975–76.

Healy was a keen amateur swimmer and a member of Sunday's Well Swimming Club. He continued to promote the sport during his mayoralty and in the 1970s the city's first suburban swimming pool at Douglas was named the Gus Healy municipal swimming pool.

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - James "Jim" Gibbons

James "Jim" Gibbons (3 August 1924 – 20 December 1997) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He was first elected in 1957 as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Carlow–Kilkenny. He held his seat until 1982. Gibbons also served as Minister for Defence (1969–70) and Minister for Agriculture (1970–73 and 1977–79).

Born in Bonnettsrath, County Kilkenny, Gibbons was born into a very politically-minded family. His uncle, Seán Gibbons, was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Cumann na nGaedheal candidate at the 1923 general election but later joined the Farmer's Party and eventually joined Fianna Fáil.

Gibbons was educated locally and later attended Kilkenny CBS and St Kieran's College. Here he earned a reputation on the sports field, winning a Leinster colleges' hurling title. Following the completion of his Leaving Certificate he studied medicine at University College Dublin, however, he abandoned his studies after two years to return to Kilkenny where he concentrated on farming.
Gibbons later bought a 300-acre farm at the Pheasantgry, Dunmore, about four miles from Kilkenny city.

Gibbons was politically active from an early age, having joined Fianna Fáil in his youth. He was co-opted onto Kilkenny County Council in 1954, and secured election to that authority in his own right the following year. He remained as a county councillor until 1967.

Gibbons was elected to Dáil Éireann for the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency at the 1957 general election. He secured re-election at the 1961 general election, however, he remained on the government backbenches for a second term.

Following the 1965 general election Gibbons secured promotion to the junior ministerial ranks under Seán Lemass, when he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. In this position he served under Jack Lynch and later under Charles Haughey.

Following Fianna Fáil's fourth general election triumph in succession at the 1969 general election, Gibbons joined Jack Lynch's cabinet as Minister for Defence. Although not regarded as a particularly high-ranking portfolio, his short tenure would come to define his political career. In August 1969, civil unrest in Northern Ireland boiled over and the Irish government were forced to act. Lynch urged his cabinet to take a cautious line and established a cabinet subcommittee to organise emergency assistance and relief. A government fund of £100,000 was set up to provide relief to nationalist civilians forced out of their homes by the Troubles, and Charles Haughey, as Minister for Finance, was given sole authority over this money. The Minister for Agriculture, Neil Blaney, allegedly made plans with Captain James Kelly to import weapons from continental Europe. Haughey provided the money for the purchase from his civilian relief fund, and also tried to arrange customs clearance for the shipment.

In May 1970, the Arms Crisis broke when Haughey and Blaney were sacked by Lynch when the plot to import arms was revealed. At the subsequent Arms Trial Gibbons would be the chief prosecutorial witness and his evidence would contradict Haughey's. Haughey was found not guilty, therefore Gibbons was alleged to have been the dishonest one, an allegation that affected him deeply. He was never charged with any offence himself and was angry that a Dáil motion of confidence in the government effectively turned into a debate on him personally.

In the wake of the Arms Crisis and the ministerial sackings, Gibbons was appointed as Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. As a farmer himself, he was respected and liked by the farming community and its representatives. In his new role Gibbons played a key role in the agricultural negotiations concerning entry into the European Economic Community and in the amalgamation of creameries in the country.

Fianna Fáil lost power to a Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition following the 1973 general election. In spite of losing ministerial office he remained a key member of Jack Lynch's team. Shortly after the general election he was appointed a member of the second delegation from the Oireachtas to the European Parliament. Two years later in 1975 Gibbons was included on Jack Lynch's new front bench as spokesperson on agriculture. Charles Haughey, the man who he clashed with in the Arms Trial of 1970, also re-joined the front bench.

Following Fianna Fáil's huge triumph at the 1977 general election, Gibbons's tenure as a MEP ended and he returned to Jack Lynch's new cabinet as Minister for Agriculture. Once again his appointment was welcomed by farmers.

In 1979, Gibbons clashed with the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Charles Haughey, over the controversial Family Planning Bill. As a staunch Catholic Gibbons voted against the bill that legalised the sale of contraceptives. He was the first government minister in the history of the state to vote against his own government, yet the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, took no action against him. This action only exacerbated the ill-feeling between Gibbons and Haughey.

In December 1979, Jack Lynch announced his resignation as Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader. The subsequent leadership election turned into a straight battle between Haughey and George Colley. The latter had the backing of almost every member of the existing cabinet, however, a backbench revolt saw Haughey narrowly become Taoiseach and party leader.

In the resulting cabinet reshuffle Gibbons was the only member of the cabinet to be sacked.

Following his dismissal from cabinet, Gibbons became a vocal critic of Haughey's leadership of Fianna Fáil. After he lost his seat at the 1981 general election he openly called for a change of leadership within the party.

Gibbons regained his seat at the February 1982 general election and voted against Haughey in the leadership challenge that was proposed by Charlie McCreevy. Leaving Leinster House after the vote he was attacked by a number of drunken Fianna Fáil supporters and forced to the ground. A friend of his saw off the attackers. In the aftermath, new swivel doors were erected to prevent mobs pushing their way into the parliament building. The incident was recounted by Desmond O'Malley in the RTÉ documentary series Seven Ages (although O'Malley does not mention Gibbons by name), and was later also referred to in the 2005 RTÉ biographical series Haughey.

A few weeks after this incident Gibbons suffered a heart attack and was unable to vote for Haughey later that year in a no-confidence motion at which point the government fell. He lost his seat at the November 1982 general election and effectively retired from politics.

In retirement, Gibbons suffered from ill health and suffered a number of heart attacks and strokes. He never fully recovered from the physical assault on him outside the Dáil in 1982.

In 1986, Gibbons offered his support to Desmond O'Malley and the new Progressive Democrats, as he believed that there was no longer a place for him within Haughey's Fianna Fáil party. His son, Martin Gibbons was elected to the Dáil form the new party in the 1987 general election. In 1997 another son, Jim Gibbons, Jnr, was nominated by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as a member of the 21st Seanad.

Jim Gibbons died on 20 December 1997 aged 73. He had married Margaret (Peg) O'Neill in 1950, and they had five sons and six daughters.