Charles Haughey


Biography of Charles Haughey

Charles James "Charlie" Haughey (16 September 1925 – 13 June 2006) was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving three terms in office (from December 1979 to June 1981, March 1982 to December 1982, and March 1987 to February 1992). He was also the fourth leader of Fianna Fáil (from 1979 until 1992). Haughey was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Teachta Dála (TD) in 1957 and was re-elected in every election until 1992, he represented the Dublin North–East, Dublin Artane and Dublin North–Central constituencies. Haughey also served as Minister for Health and Social Welfare (1977–1979), Minister for Finance (1966–1970), Minister for Agriculture (1964–1966) and Minister for Justice (1961–1964). He also served as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Justice during the early years of his parliamentary career.

Haughey is generally regarded as the dominant Irish politician of his generation, as well as the most controversial. Upon entering government in the early 1960s, Haughey became the symbol of a new vanguard of Irish ministers, with a promising future in service to the Republic. As Taoiseach, he is credited by some economists as starting the positive transformation of the economy in the late 1980s. However, his career was also marked by several major scandals. Haughey was implicated in the Arms Crisis of 1970, which nearly destroyed his career. His political reputation revived, his tenure as Taoiseach was then damaged by the sensational GUBU Affair in 1982; his party leadership was challenged four times, each time unsuccessfully, earning Haughey the nickname "The Great Houdini." Revelations about his role in a phone tapping scandal forced him to resign as Taoiseach and retire from politics in 1992.

After Haughey's retirement, further revelations of corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion and a 27-year extra-marital affair tarnished his reputation. He died of prostate cancer in 2006 at the age of eighty.

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