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Maureen Haughey recalls how her father escaped death in the Easter Rising

The wife of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey made a rare public appearance today.

He never talked about it. Only maybe some of his old comrades would come in and we’d listen in, and he never talked about the civil war or anything like that. He just got on with the job and didn’t hold any grudges against anybody.

MAUREEN HAUGHEY GAVE a rare interview today, with her son Seán by her side.

Charlie Haughey’s widow was speaking at the launch of Fianna Fáil’s commemoration plans for the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

FF 1916 Events launch 11 Maureen Haughey Source: Conor McCabe

Her father, Seán Lemass, was a veteran of the Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War.

He became leader of Fianna Fáil and Taoiseach in 1959, serving in that role until his retirement in 1966.

sean lemass 2 Seán Lemass Source: Fianna Fáil

Maureen said her father didn’t speak about the Rising or the Civil War, as it was too difficult for him.

His brother was killed just as the Civil War was supposed to be ended, and his body was cut up and everything – but he never spoke about it.

She said her father was just 17 years old when the Rising took place and her uncle, Noel, was 18.

FF 1916 Events launch 9 Seán and Maureen Haughey Source: Conor McCabe

FF 1916 Events launch 3 Maureen Haughey and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin Source: Conor McCabe

Maureen recalled: “There was word that the Rising was off. They should have been in Boland’s Mill with [Eamon] de Valera, but they couldn’t get there.”

The next day, they were a day late going in, they knocked at the door of the GPO and they were let in and they were given arms.

They were there all the way and the surrender came, but when they were all lined up, you know, as prisoners, an RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) man or whatever said ‘Sure there’s the Lemasses and they’re only children, let them go.’ So they let them go so they lived to fight another day.

Maureen said she’s “delighted” Fianna Fáil has planned its own series of commemorative events for 2016 as the government is “not doing very much”.

Micheál Martin: The IRA hijacked the Easter Rising, it’s time to take it back

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Órla Ryan

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