So much has been written in the last few days following the funeral. It will continue and become more interesting, complex and revealing. To quote Churchill following the defeat of Rommel in North Africa in WWII - "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning".
I wrote a short piece on Haughey on the day of his death and I wanted to leave it there. The man pains me too much and has always done so since I was in my teens. I decided to try and move on by writing on Joyce's Ulysses on his funeral day (the old goat probably smiled from the grave at being buried on Bloomsday like another little man - Paddy Dignam). I've read many interesting things in recent days which were tempting to comment on. However I wasn't going to bother at all until I read John Waters in the Irish Times today.
I've respect for John Waters, a great writer, and I've agreed with him so many times. I can also forgive him for writing in my opinion a total load of rubbish on Haughey today. However, there is something much more sinister about what John wrote today which represents a bigger picture. It's the effect Haughey has had on intelligent people. It must be something approaching witchcraft. What else could make an intelligent man say about Haughey "He showed us a way we might live, by living it himself. That this emerged as another illusion was part of its value". I don't like just pulling out one part of his article, but the entire piece builds a picture of Haughey as showing the way for the masses who had it hard.
What bothers me is that so many good people were beguiled by Haughey. It was at it's most dangerous at the attempted illegal import of arms which could have easily caused a civil war bloodbath in Northern Ireland. As a Government Minister at the time he certainly (along with others) at the very least offered a quasi-morality to the acceleration of the Provisional IRA. He thought he was backing the winning game and of course when it went pear-shaped and he was caught - it was into his favourite pastime of lying and cheating his way out of trouble. I lived through all this as a teenager and I was in my 20s when my jaw dropped (along with Jack Lynch and most of the nation) as he became leader of Fianna Fail. His ability to beguile was laid bare for all. And yet supporters of Fianna Fail voted for him. Business men gave him truck loads of money, he tapped phones, he continued borrowing and swept the country into crippling debt. At it's peak I remember him in a televised pre-election debate with Garret Fitzgerald saying that Ireland had a good credit standing abroad for borrowing...i.e. let's keep doing it. He was proved to owe hugely in personal tax from wrongly channeled donations over his time as leader of the country and only made limited settlements recently when fully cornered. The beguiled authorities couldn't see fit to have him trialed and jailed.
What possessed Ben Dunne to give him so much money - 1.3 million? He spoke after Haughey's death on RTE radio that he felt guilty of the pain he caused Charlie after this (he generously gives Haughey money AND manages to feel guilty!!). Ben then said his own biggest weakness is his own BRAIN . Frightening stuff. More beguiling of a successful businessman - reduced to self criticism and self doubt.
There is so much more, not to mention Haughey's cheating on his poor wife, but I've had enough of him. I'm all spent, I was weakened and let down by a leader whose salary I paid. I feel a bit like Scott of Antarctica as he awaited death in the frozen wastelands...."It seems a pity but I don't think I can write any more".
However I hope many more keep writing on Haughey. It needs to be said.