Haughey papers to be presented to DCU

 

Some 350 boxes of private papers belonging to former taoiseach Charles Haughey will be handed over to Dublin City University today, although they will not be opened to historians for another 13 years.

The papers covering the political life of the late taoiseach include details of the early contacts between Mr Haughey and the Belfast-based Redemptorist priest, Fr Alex Reid, in what were the very early stages of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

They will be handed over by Mr Haughey’s family at a ceremony at 11am and are to be stored in the DCU library in an archival facility to be named after the former taoiseach.

DCU president, Ferdinand von Prondzynski said it was “the most historically significant personal archive to come to an Irish university”.

“It is an extraordinarily valuable collection which charts the public life of Charles J Haughey until the end of his career and after. The papers will provide essential source material for biographers, and those who will write the history of Ireland in the twenty-first century.

“They also provide a unique insight into the political decision-making that eventually produced the Celtic Tiger. We are particularly honoured to receive the collection and are extremely grateful to the Haughey family.”

DCU said the collection included correspondence and papers from all periods of Mr Haughey’s public life.

It covers his involvement with Fianna Fáil from the 1940s onwards and includes election pamphlets and leaflets, private and official photographs, video tapes of speeches and other memorabilia.

DCU librarian Paul Sheehan said the collection, consisting of 350 large storage boxes, will provide “unique and vital source-material for historians of modern Ireland”.

The papers have yet to be catalogued and their condition also needs to be assessed in order to carry out any conservation work necessary to ensure their physical integrity, he said.

“Following this cataloguing and conservation process, the collection is expected to be available for research purposes from 2022, thirty years after Mr Haughey left public office.”

The Dublin City University Educational Trust today also announced the establishment of a memorial endowment to fund scholarships in his name.

The Charles J Haughey Access Scholarships will support students attending DCU from the Northside Partnership area, and the Charles J Haughey Doctoral Fellowships in Law and Government will support postgraduate research in law and government.

Speaking on behalf of the Haughey family, his son, Minister of State for Education Seán Haughey said there was a “wealth of material” among the papers that would, in due course, “keep historians and academics engaged for years to come”.

“They encompass his long political career, his great breadth of interests and his various roles as parliamentarian, legislator and committed European.”

Mr Haughey said there were few areas of Irish life where his father’s influence had not been apparent.

It was the family’s hope that, in time, the papers would be both the “basis of, and the stimulus for, an objective assessment and appraisal of my father’s contribution to the building of modern Ireland”.