Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Haughey's Legacy

The final episode of RTE's absorbing documentary of Haughey was the darkest of the four. His merciless shafting of his old hench-man Linehan was laid out in detail. His blatant lying about the phone taps was also revealed and we got chapter and verse on his extravagance. It was interesting the number of times we saw Bertie close to his embattled leader. He must have seen the gulf between Haughey's spending and his income. When questioned about his signature on the many Fianna Fail cheques that paid for Haughey's lifestyle, he maintained that it wasn't his business to monitor Haughey's spending. So why have joint signatories the you might ask? An alarming example of financial fecklessness and blithe insensitivity to accountability in high places.

However the most revealing interview was the one with Dermot Desmond - bucaneering capitalist extraordinaire. Looking like a cad from central casting (complete with ridiculous moustache) he asserted that he would be quite happy to give Charlie any money he wanted - even if that was a million. You have to ask why this should be so. It could of course be related to the millions he made out of the Eircom property deal in Ballsbridge, or the IFSC bonanza. What it encapsulated was the fact that Haughey, contrary to his populist shtick, was a friend of big business and cared not a jot for the plain people of Ireland. We see his legacy today in our health system, in our education system, and in the whole Thatcherite miasma that poisons the country.