Former Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil, Charles J. Haughey has died.
A controversial figure, he was revered by many yet the corruption which was exposed in later may colour the opinions of many. He was without doubt a shrewd and clever man. Personally I know a lot of my family would have thought a lot of him and personally I definately have respect for his ability.
He is regarded by many as one of those who helped create the conditions for the Celtic Tiger from which so many in Ireland have benefited. He was also a man who had time for Nationalists North of the border and was a more genuine Republican than the likes of Lynch or Fitzgerald. Current Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, a former ministeral colleague of Mr. Haughey's and the man who Charlie described as "the most cunning and devious of them all" has paid tribute to his former leader.
Funnilly enough, I was reading the Irish Times yesterday and Conor Cruise O'Brien was spouting nonsense as usual saying that when Charlie passed on that he should not be afforded a state funeral.
Mr. Haughey achieved far more for this country than O'Brien ever did or will and a state funeral is only appropriate for a man who had such a profound effect on Irish life. Unlike so many others, he had a charisma that is lacking in politics. I am reminded of the programme on Haughey shown on RTE last Summer. When he had finally been ousted by his own party, he rang a colleague to ask how they were getting on without him. The colleague replied. "They are running around like headless chickens without you. The bland leading the bland." Bland was one thing Haughey certainly never was.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
‘I have done the State some service, and they know it, no more of that.’– Charlie Haughey quoting from 'Othello' in his resignation speech to the Dáil in 1992