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The Man, The Legend

6.14.2006

CJ has died and it seems that the startin gun has been fired in deciding on what he contributed to the state. Its as if his death is the cue needed for historians to begin analysing and surmising on the events of the eighties. Honestly, Charlies legacy has been picked over numerous times and unless (considering the whole death-libel relationship) something major crops up in the coming days there will only be the continuing tussle  between those who see him as a demi-god and those who see him as a crook.

Haughey's career hasnt been fully put to bed but its not as if we have only got round to looking at his impact now because he is dead. There are historians who recognise that Haughey contributed by tightening belts, others who point to the fact that three elections and budget give-aways in the early eighties got us there in the first place and then some reports which suggest that he was less than kosher. The truth is a mixture of all three and its been thought about and opined on for ages. Contrary to what RTE, TV3, Matt Cooper and others might chat about there isnt much of his historical legacy left to fight over.

The final thing thats a bit of a pain in the knackers is that phrase-"His legacy? It will be to history to decide.". Well actually it wont. History isnt actually a person, much less a unified entity. It cant decide on many things. History will be the ongoing argument between those who look at the economics and those who point to the corruption and controversy. Like most events, history will have no homogenous uniform verdict on our former Taoiseach and saying he will is simply copping out cos you wasted your 3-odd minute report on clips of Haughey citing Othello and getting booed in Dublin Castle.

Like Iraq history will not vindicate. It is in no position to vindicate it will reflect conflict among those who report and opine on history who gather facts and counter-facts. It would of course be nice if that ideal that transcendent histroy descended from the clouds to impart on us simple Irish people the wisdom of the unified truth of the legacy of Charlie Haughey but it wont happen. It cant happen. History is a beautiful conflct of fact and philosophy.

its an attempt to grapple with facts as we find them, discern the nature of causality that has led us to where we are right now and then to arbitrate either morally, rationally or coldly on the event. Its all the more powerful for its humanity.

That aside overwith, I just wanted to make clear that before the media begin to congratulate themselves on letting history decide or on deciphering the code of Haughey's legacy they neednt bother with that or the glib pretence that they are doing that and not just filling airtime with peopel who remember the former Taoiseach in different ways.

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  1. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:44 p.m. |  

    well done!

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