‘He wasn’t the first man to have an affair and he won’t be the last’
PJ Mara talks about Charlie, the Seanad and being a father aged 72
Mr Charles Haughey flanked by photographers at a press conference in Dublin, following his acquittal in the Arms Trial in October 1970. Photograph: The Irish Times
Charlie Haughey was not the first man to have an affair and would not be the last, his former adviser PJ Mara said today.
He said the revelation by Terry Keane of her affair with Mr Haughey on the Late Late Show was one of the most painful moments for the former taoiseach.
“It was a betrayal obviously and that’s hard to take for anyone. He was upset but it was not something he dwelled on.”
“He wasn’t the first man to have an affair and he won’t be the last; men do that; women do that. It’s not something I want to go into now; it happened.”
“We all know women who have affairs outside their marriage and it happens, it shouldn’t happen but it does,” he said.
Mr Mara (72) said he was not surprised the Government lost the Seanad abolition referendum and he described the Coalition’s campaign as “appalling, crude and vulgar”.
“The campaign that was fought by the Government was terrible; it wouldn’t inspire people to vote for it.
“I had a sense from early on that people were dubious about the proposition, middle class people in particular but it was heavily defeated in all the Dublin areas; blue collar and middle class.
“The proposition wasn’t well-handled. It was terrible; appalling. Whoever dreamt it up should be fired.”
Mr Mara said he is looking forward to seeing himself being played by Love/Hate actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in a three-part series about the disgraced former Taoiseach.
The drama which goes into production this week with the working title of “Charlie” covers the period from Haughey’s drive for power in 1979 and chronicles his attempts to hang onto that power until his departure from politics in 1992.
Speaking on The John Murray Show with Miriam O’Callaghan, Mr O’Mara said it was “extraordinary” the interest and fascination about Mr Haughey’s life had lasted a quarter of a century and he compared it to that of Margaret Thatcher in the UK which he believes still haunts the UK Conservative party to date.
He said he would be happy to meet Vaughan Lawlor who currently plays the role of underworld gangster Nidge in Love/Hate, but wouldn’t be giving him any advice on how to play him.
“I wouldn’t advise an actor, he has got a script, and they have their own way of going about their business.”