Diarmaid Ferriter: Latest assessment of Haughey era seems derailed by deference

New biography devotes more attention to family rejection of Moriarty contents than to findings

Bertie Ahern’s Sunday Times reference to Haughey’s ‘working-class values that were instilled in him growing up’ would be laughable if it was not so offensive. File photograph: The Irish Times

Bertie Ahern’s Sunday Times reference to Haughey’s ‘working-class values that were instilled in him growing up’ would be laughable if it was not so offensive. File photograph: The Irish Times

Some of those writing about Charles Haughey amid the political upheavals of the 1980s and during his retirement in the 1990s were aware their assessments might prove short-lived.

Journalist Peter Murtagh, for example, wrote in 1999 that Haughey was “a dangerous, self-obsessed, narcissistic bully”, but suggested “there is no doubt that history will be kinder to Haughey than are today’s commentators, myself included. It is ever thus: being so close to events means one cannot determine the dross, the irrelevancies, the things that only the passage of time can discard as useless”.

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