There was some interesting information about former Taoiseach, Charles J Haughey, contained in Northern Ireland State papers released last week under the new rules that permits their publication after 20 years instead of 30.
The first titbit to raise eyebrows was the opinion registered by officials at the time to the effect that Mr Haughey’s security cooperation was ‘no worse’ than that of Garret Fitzgerald. Charlie was, they said, ‘a highly pragmatic and astute politician with few scruples and a keen eye for the main chance.’
But, conceded the Northern Ireland officials rather begrudgingly, he had ‘laid the groundwork of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985.’
And in what was a bizarre opinion, the officials said there were reasons for believing that the Gardaí were more inclined to be forthcoming under a government led by Mr Haughey since they no longer feared a future Fianna Fáil government looking askance at their activities!
The British Ambassador at the time, Sir Alan Goodison, felt that “while Mr Haughey is likely to bang the Republican drum in public, he would endeavour not to put in danger the benefits which the Anglo Irish Agreement offered. This is a tricky policy but he is, by nature, a tricky man.”
So, our friends in Stormont and Westminster were wary of Charlie and considered him to be pragmatic and astute, to have few scruples and to be a tricky man with a keen eye for the main chance. As our American friends might say admiringly: Way to go Charlie!