About the Site

This is the official memorial website for the former Taoiseach, Charles J. Haughey, which has been established with the consent of his family. It is a work in progress and is intended to provide factual information on his career in public life and on his considerable contribution and achievements over many decades.

Bequests from the Estate of Charles Haughey: Speech by Minister for Lifelong Learning, Seán Haughey T.D., at the official unveiling of the exhibition

A dhaoine uaisle, is cúis onóra domsa a bheith i bhur láthair anocht ag an ócáid seo, agus saol agus oideachas Chathail Uí Eochaidh á chomóradh againn le nochtadh oifigiúil an taispeántais seo in Institiúid Oideachais Marino.

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Trustees of Marino Institute of Education, Governing Body members, representatives of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the family at this, the official unveiling of an exhibition of original portraits and interpretative panels commemorating the life of my late father, Charles Haughey. That the exhibition is located here in Marino, in the heartland that played such a prominent role in both his early family and political life, is entirely fitting.

At the outset, I would like to thank Dr. Anne O' Gara, the President, Marino Institute of Education, for encouraging us to celebrate the links between my father and the Edmund Rice tradition of education. The interpretative panels next door reflect many aspects of my father's life. A theme immediately apparent throughout is his deep commitment to, and long association with, this part of Dublin's northside. His school days in Scoil Mhuire and St. Joseph's, his involvement with the FCA , the St. Vincent's and Parnells teams, and all his political activities, combine to reveal how his life was closely interwoven with this community. In 35 years in Dáil Éireann, he never once took his constituents for granted - nor they him, returning him as a poll-topper on every occasion, after his first election as a T.D. in 1957.

Of his earliest days in Scoil Mhuire, Brother Ernest Fitzpatrick would write that he was a "precocious fellow, but tough" and that he was "bright and grasped all subjects well". He "always had an ambitious streak" and was "very capable of mastering everything ...Very popular...a leader of his class".

A friend, present in the Haughey family home when Cathal's Primary Certificate results arrived, would recall many years later his father John's remark that his son, Cathal, "would go far". The seal commemorating his EU Presidency in 1990, which we see here, represents both the pinnacle in his career and a manifestation, if one was ever needed, of the motto on the family crest hanging beside it - "Marte Nostro" - by our own efforts.

We are delighted that so many of those who were involved in the various aspects of his life are represented here...schooldays, FCA, sport and politics....and I want to extend a warm welcome to all of you. To many of you my father was always known as Cathal, and it was only in later life, as his mentor and friend An Br. O Catháin remarked, "apparently some extra-intelligent contemporary in the university was actually able to translate Cathal to 'Charlie'" which An Brathair considered "some achievement!"

Like many of his generation, he owed a great debt of gratitude to the Christian Brothers who provided an education that might not otherwise have been available. They imbued their students with a great love of all things Irish. The Brothers bequeathed a great passion for our national games and for the Irish language - something which my father and many others never forgot. Throughout his life my father could, almost at will, quote lines of poetry, in English or 'as gaeilge', and Latin phrases, learned as a student - a clear testament to the classical education provided by these inspiring men.

It is also a fitting tribute to his schooldays that he developed many life long friendships with other "Joey's" pupils - men like Harry Boland, Art Mc Gann and Brian Dennis. He looked forward every year to the Past Pupil Union annual dinner which he and his siblings attended without fail - there is a nice but sad photo next door of the four Haughey brothers at a "Joey's" PPU dinner - an intimidating bunch if ever there was one!

I don't wish to say much about my father's political legacy this evening - the panels do all the talking! But I am certain that his personal experience at home in Donnycarney, watching his mother raise seven children while also looking after an ailing husband who would die prematurely, was undoubtedly a huge formative influence. It would shape his political philosophy and motivate him in Government to protect the weaker sections of society: the sick, the underprivileged and the aged. It would also manifest itself too as an abiding social concern and a commitment to reform during a long career in public life.

My father was, of course, a scholarship boy, receiving school and university scholarships. We, as his family, have agreed to help establish a Charles J. Haughey Scholarship Fund here in Marino Institute of Education for students who are considering pursuing the PostGraduate Diploma in Spirituality and Leadership in Education. In time, a course such as this may become a necessity for those aspiring to take a leadership role in education - and the Haughey family is delighted to be supporting this initiative.

When we were considering items for display in this exhibition, it seemed natural that the series of excellent Pat Phelan portraits in my late father's possession should be selected to adorn these walls - as they do so elegantly. It is a great pleasure to welcome the artist, Pat Phelan, and his wife Nora, who are with us here. The collection, dating from the early 1970s, is a unique historical record of many of the figures who played an active role over many decades, both in Fianna Fáil and in the affairs of our nation. Some like Brian Lenihan, John Wilson and Paddy Hillery served as Ministers for Education as indeed my father did as 'Acting Minister' in that same department for a couple of weeks in 1982. Others like Seán Flanagan and Neil Blaney also have a northside connection having made their Dublin homes here. The more observant of you will have noticed that the portraits are each signed by the subject! I can vouch for the authenticity of the signatures as my mother has a photograph at home of her own father Seán Lemass, signing his own portrait!

For anyone who has arrived late, I would strongly urge you to view the interpretative panels next door. They capture so many aspects of my father's life - the influences of his northern roots, his birth in the west, his Dublin upbringing; the importance of Kerry to him; his lifelong education; his passion for the arts; and some major personal initiatives undertaken in public life.

The Marino Institute is located in a lovely, tranquil setting here, just off Griffith Avenue. The Christian Brothers certainly knew what they were doing in having their headquarters here! This room is particularly impressive with its magnificent long windows. I would like to thank the President of Marino Institute of Education, Dr. Anne O'Gara once again for facilitating this commemoration. We, his family, are excited about the exhibition of "Charles Haughey - A Life in Education". I hope that it will attract many visitors and be, as it has proved to be for all of us, a source of inspiration and enjoyment for all those who will pass through these walls.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go lÉir.