Haughey, corruption and denial

Vincent Browne does not know what corruption is and he has no idea whatsoever of the very serious consequences that follow from the disease. This was very clear from a discussion on last Monday’s Tonight with Vincent Browne.

In an acrimonious exchange with Colm Mac hEochaidh, barrister and member of Fine Gael, Browne defined political corruption as the taking of money in return for favours.

Here’s the relevant exchanges:

Mac hEochaidh:

Charles Haughey, Liam Lawlor and Ray Burke were people who occupied very high positions in Fianna Fail and who self evidently not only exercised low standards but were profoundly corrupt men.


There’s no proof that Charles Haughey ever did anything in return for monies he got which seems to me the definition of corruption.

Mac hEochaidh:

No, that is not the definition of corruption. First of all there is no definition of corruption but if you have any political standards at all…


The word corruption, what’s the understanding of that in terms of politics. That a politician receives money in return for giving a favour and therefore in order to prove corruption or to use the word intelligently with regard to a particular politician you’ve got to show that a politician received money and in return he did a favour and I’m just simply pointing out there’s no evidence that Charles Haughey did any favours for anybody he got money from.

Cleary, Vincent Browne, who for decades questioned the dodgy activities of Haughey but eventually came to see him as a heroic figure has now entered the final phase of Haughey worship – Total denial.

By Browne’s narrow definition the following events do not constitute corruption. The theft of millions through tax evasion by a citizen/politician/Prime Minister; the acceptance of millions from rich businessmen while holding public office; the theft of large amounts of money from the Party Leaders Fund and most tellingly the plundering of a fund set up to save the life of Brian Lenihan.

2 thoughts on “Haughey, corruption and denial”

  1. Vincent Browne is using the narrow legal definition of corruption, based on a 19th Century Westminster drafted law, under which even our friend Redmond was able to get off.

    To be fair to Haughey I don’t think he took bribes in return for specific actions (except in a few minor cases- selling passports for instance). As an astute politician he was very good at anticipating the needs and wishes of his peers, taking the appropriate action and then graciously accepting expressions of gratitude. The payments were tips not bribes.

    Ahern seems to have done much the same – although without the same tuch of class. Haughey’s political ambition was to create a new Ascendancy. He succeeded. Ahern’s only ambition seems to be to fill his local with a bunch of like-minded cronies who will take him to football matches and buy him another pint.


  2. Surely having a word with the Revenue to reduce Dunnes tax liability perhaps in returns for payments amounts to corruption?

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