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The things that Haughey was sent in 1982

A man revered by his people, Charles Haughey was a politician used to the finer things in life.

Charlie Haughey in his Abbeville mansion in Kinsealy, 1982. (Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

CHARLES HAUGHEY SERVED three terms as Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland.

A fiercely popular politician, he was revered in many households across the country. State Papers released this year reveal just how well-loved he was as Irish residents responded to a leadership challenge against him within Fianna Fáil, as well as his win in the first of the year’s General Elections.

He received letters of support, as well as modest gifts, including prayer books, medals and masses.

A note from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, and a subsequent response from the Taoiseach, reveals how a book on Dublin, a Dublin tie and a Dublin scarf “for your good wife” were gifted to Haughey after attending a lunch in honour of the Mayor of New York.

Most of the offerings kept in the 30-year State Papers were notes of encouragement – but some offered some home truths.

In this poignant letter (for it could have been written in 2012 as much as 1982), a woman writes of her initial distrust of the Taoiseach, as well as her disappointment that the abortion issue was being raised. Despite the criticism though, she offers her full support, love and respect.

For larger images, click here, here, here and here.

Another letter, dated 29 November 1982 had some advice for the Taoiseach as leader of the Fianna Fáil party:

Fianna Fáil needs reorganisation. It needs a new public image. It needs better management. It needs to identify openly with the cause of the underprivileged, the unemployed, the scientific future and with a new vision of the Irish nation. It does not needs a new leader.

Haughey’s defeat in the November 1982 came after the dissolution of the Dáil on 4 November. Fine Gael won and Garret Fitzgerald became Taoiseach once more. Not everyone was happy with the result. This is just two of many letters seen by TheJournal.ie in the 1982 files.

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Prayers, medals and masses

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Another letter, dated 9 November 1982, details a woman's praying ritual. The author urges the Taoiseach to copy her.

I have a little prayer than has worked wonders for me and I say it for you and your party every day - it is - Jesus is lost, Jesus is found - 3 times and then 3 Hail Marys. Would you please try and say it each day whenever you get a chance (if you cannot I will say it on the double for you).

For larger image, click here.

See National Archives, ref number 2012/90/596

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