|Charles James Haughey
Prime Minister, 1979-1981, 1982, and
Charles James Haughey was born
in Castlebar, County Mayo, on September 16, 1925,
and grew up in the Dublin suburb of Donnycarney.
He was educated at the St. Joseph's secondary
school in Fairview, and at the University College
in Dublin. Prior to entering politics, he was a
successful accountant and businessman.
A member of the Fianna Fáil
party, Haughey was elected to Parliament in 1957,
and was continuously re-elected until 1992. He
became Minister of Justice in 1961, and served in
a ministerial capacity in all subsequent Fianna
Fáil governments until 1970. As Justice Minister
(1961-1964), he introduced legislation to protect
the inheritance rights of wives and children. He
also introduced the Special Military Courts which
ultimately helped defeat the Irish Republican
Army's Border Campaign. As Minister for
Agriculture (1964-1966), he had to deal with a
series of protests organized by the National
Farmers Association and Irish Creamery Milk
Suppliers Association that at times threatened
the stability of the Fianna Fáil government. As
Minister for Finance (1966-1970), Haughey
introduced a series of social reforms designed to
ease the economic burdens faced by pensioners. He
was dismissed from his ministerial position in
May of 1970, after accusations surfaced regarding
his complicity in an attempt to import arms for
the IRA using government money. Although he was
subsequently acquitted of wrongdoing by a court,
Haughey's political future seemed in doubt. That
doubt increased after his party lost control of
Parliament in 1975.
Although Haughey had a rather
minor role during the opposition period, he
returned to prominence upon his party regaining
Parliament in 1977. As Minister for Health and
Welfare (1977-1979), he began the first
government anti-smoking campaigns. He was also
responsible for The Family Planning Bill, which
allowed a pharmacist to sell contraceptives upon
presentation of a medical prescription.
Haughey became leader of the
Fianna Fáil upon the resignation of Jack Lynch.
He was formally elected Prime Minister by
Parliament on December 11, 1979, and served until
June 30, 1981. During this period he increased
public spending, which led to increased borrowing
by the government and taxation. It was largely
due to Haughey's economic policies that Fianna
Fáil lost the general election of 1981to a Fine
Gael-Labour coalition; Garret FitzGerald, leader
of Fine Gael, replaced Haughey as Prime Minister.
collapsed in 1982, due in large part to a
controversial budget. Haughey regained the Prime
Ministership on March 9, 1982, but lost it again
on December 14, 1982, after allegations that he
had authorized the tapping of journalists'
telephones were made public. FitzGerald regained
his former position with a comfortable
Parliamentary majority, and held it until 1987.
Haughey regained the Prime
Ministership on March 10, 1987, even though
Fianna Fáil failed to win an overall majority in
Parliament. A general election held in 1989
resulted in the party losing four seats, and
Haughey failed to achieve a majority of
Parliament votes for Prime Minister. Although he
was technically forced to resign, he remained
acting Prime Minister for 27 days, during which
time a coalition with the Progressive Democrats
was formed that allowed him to remain in office.
Haughey's final stint as Prime Minister proved
even more contentious than his others had been,
and he was frequently at odds with his own party.
He was finally forced to resign on February 11,
1992, and he retired from politics soon after. He
was succeeded as Prime Minister by Albert
Accusations of financial
impropriety dogged Haughey even after he left
politics. He ultimately agreed to pay taxes and
fines on money received in secret payments, and
was indicted on charges of obstructing justice.
He died of prostate cancer on June 13, 2006.
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