Papers show Lynch couple's expensive taste in cards - but not if they were posted
Of the three taoisigh in office between 1979 and 1983, the late Jack Lynch had the most expensive taste in Christmas cards, State papers show. However, Lynch had ceased to be taoiseach by Christmas 1979 and there is no record as to whether his cards were ever sent.
Lynch’s cards, specially designed with an image from the National Gallery of Ireland, cost €1.27 (£1) each.
Charles Haughey ordered the largest number of cards in any of these years (7,000 in 1980), and Garret FitzGerald chose the cheapest.
The file from the Department of the Taoiseach shows that in August 1979 Lynch had ordered a specially made transparency from the National Gallery to be used on his Christmas cards. The transparency of A Child on The Beach by Walter Osbourne cost €22 (£17) and is still contained in the file.
Mount Salus Press Ltd was given the job of printing the 1,600 cards and supplying envelopes at a total cost of €2,019 (£1,590).
A letter on the file written from the taoiseach’s office to the printer said the card had been chosen by Mrs Lynch.
“As you know, she would like it printed in a deeper shade of the same colour and the picture placed six-tenths of an inch from the fold of the card,” the letter said. The image was also to be surrounded by “a gold border of one-twelfth of an inch”.
The file does not refer to the fact Lynch was replaced by Haughey as taoiseach on December 11th, 1979. There is no record as to whether the Lynch cards were ever sent out.
In a parliamentary question retained on the file, Haughey said he did not send any cards as taoiseach in 1979, but sent 1,700, at a cost of €1,240 (£980) or 72 cent (58 pence) each, in his capacity as minister for health and for social welfare.
In 1980 however, he sent a much larger number. He ordered 7,000 cards from John Augustine Ltd, plus “Swiftbrook envelopes of special making, all gold blocked”. The total cost was €6,666 (£5,250) or 95 cent (75 pence) for each card.
By Christmas 1981, FitzGerald was taoiseach at the head of his short-lived 1981-82 coalition government. He did not have cards made, but instead ordered them from the charity Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland.
The cost of the 1,147 cards was €670 (£528) or 46 cent (36 pence) each.
Figures for 1982 are not on the file.