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Charles Haughey /Photocall Ireland
budget 1970

Charles Haughey family "deeply disappointed" over claims he was beaten with iron bar

It is claimed in a new biography of TK Whitaker that he missed a Budget speech because of this – Haughey’s family say the claims are untrue.

Updated 11pm

THE FAMILY OF the late former Taoiseach Charles Haughey have denied claims made in a new book that he was beaten with an iron bar.

The claims are made in a book about Dr TK Whitaker, the former economist who introduced the First Programme for Economic Expansion, back in 1958.

In the book, a biography of Whitaker written by Anne Chambers and called Portrait of a Patriot, it is claimed that Haughey failed to turn up to read the Budget speech in April 1970 because he had been beaten in a public house.

The Irish Independent said that the media had been told the Haughey had been injured in a fall from a horse that morning, but in the book Whitaker said that Haughey was beaten with an iron bar and admitted to hospital.

However, Charles Haughey’s family said in a statement that they are “deeply disappointed and saddened” by what they described as “false claims” by Dr Whitaker regarding Charles Haughey’s injuries in 1970 that forced him to miss the Budget speech.

The family dispute articles in the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent about the book, saying:

We wish to state categorically that Dr Whitaker’s claims are completely and utterly untrue.
On the morning in question Mr Haughey was returning to the stables in Abbeville on his horse. He grabbed an overhead drainpipe to dismount from the horse and it reared up and jumped forward when the pipe broke. Mr Haughey fell from the horse and became unconscious.
We also wish to state that the version of events given by Ruth Henderson, who was employed as a groom in Abbeville, in relation to this incident and as outlined in her High Court Action in 1999 and other legal actions, is true and accurate.

They said that several members of the Haughey family “attended to Mr Haughey in the immediate aftermath of the accident in question”.

The family said the claims “caused great distress to Maureen Haughey and her family”.

First published 6am

Read: Helicopter rides and cigars: Here’s what dinner with Charlie Haughey was like in 1987>

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