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How would Charlie Haughey have handled the water charges debacle?

Seán Haughey talks about the RTÉ drama, his father’s legacy and how he would’ve handled a modern day controversy.
Sep 20th 2015, 8:30 AM 14,164 52

haughey-4 Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey in the acclaimed RTÉ drama. Source: RTÉ

NEITHER SEÁN HAUGHEY nor his family were big fans of the ‘Charlie’ drama when it aired on RTÉ to critical acclaim last January.

At the time the son of the late Charlie Haughey took to the airwaves to explain why his mother “wasn’t ecstatic” about the three-part drama starring Aidan Gillen as the controversial former taoiseach.

Eight months on and Haughey junior has revised his view slightly.

haughey sean.gif

“I would be more philosophical about it now. Aidan Gillen played the part well,” he told in a wide-ranging interview at our Dublin headquarters this week.

That said, he’s glad it’s over. Why?

It just puts the spotlight on issues and events that are now, [from] my point of view, historic and of historic interest and there was a bit of a media frenzy around it at the time as well, a lot of interest in it.

The drama, broadcast over three consecutive Sundays at the beginning of the year, sparked renewed public interest and debate about Charlie Haughey who was Fianna Fáil leader for 13 years and Taoiseach for seven of those.

2nd Week of Charlie Drama on RTE This Sunday Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Sean Haughey doesn’t think the programme has changed anybody’s opinions of him but said that in hindsight it was “a good piece of drama”.

However, he won’t be buying the DVD boxset.

No I’ll never watch it again, it’s just uncomfortable, so it is.

The younger Haughey, who was first elected to the Dáil in 1992, repeatedly described his father as a “controversial and charismatic” politician in the course of our interview.

He certainly wasn’t bland. We’re moving into the area of bland politics, and maybe that’s why he stands out. He was a man that made decision, whether they were the right ones or the wrong ones.

We wonder then what Charlie Haughey would have made of the current political landscape and how might he have handled the water charges debacle:

Source: Cianan Brennan/

Read: Fianna Fáil TD thinks Charlie is ‘dreadfully unfair’

Read: Mary O’Rourke was ‘a bit troubled’ by Charlie’s depiction of Brian Lenihan

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Hugh O'Connell


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