DUBLINTIMEMACHINE: On this day in 1980, Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey made his notoriously hypocritical address to the Irish people live on RTE. The Republic of Ireland was experiencing a massive budget deficit, one of the worst in the developed world.
Unemployment was approaching 10% and rising.
And whose fault was it? The decadent Dáil members? The aristocratic Catholic Church. The near feudal state of socio-economic policies that the middle class were maintaining for their benefit? Nope. It was the impoverished, hungry, jobless working class.
Haughey’s insincere scolding began with: ‘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.’ However, it was the next sanctimonious admonishment which would become infamous in hindsight.
“As a community, we are living way beyond our means.”
Then, in one of the greatest acts of political gaslighting in 20th century Irish history, C.J. said ‘apportioning blame, however, is not going to get us anywhere’.
To say Champagne Charlie lived like a banana republic playboy-dictator is a gross understatement. With Irish citizens experiencing poverty and hardship at record levels, our vane 3-time Taoiseach and his cronnies were cynically lining their pockets. Whilst he was telling us to “tighten our belts” he was wearing Parisian-tailored Charvet shirts worth more than a months wages.
The hawk-faced robber baron bought a 14 bedroom Abbeville mansion and it’s 250-acre estate in Kinsealy, County Dublin. He owned racehorses and a luxury yacht called Celtic Mist. Oh, and his own private island called Inishvickillane! And these are just some of the assets he didn’t bother to hide. Neither did he ever disclose where these Midas-like riches came from. Because in his greed and arrogance, he felt completely entitled to garnish the finances of his impoverished serfs like a feudal lord.
Years later, the Moriarty Tribunal confirmed for the sucker Irish voters what the dogs in the street already knew. Whilst Haughey was lecturing Ireland’s poor for borrowing to feed and clothe their kids, he had personal debts of £1.143 million with Allied Irish Banks.