Shame on the Diehards Who Defended CJ, Says O'Brien; Still Scathing: Conor Cruise O'Brien, 90, Left, Says Modern Ireland Is Better without CJ

Daily Mail (London), October 29, 2007 | Go to article overview

Shame on the Diehards Who Defended CJ, Says O'Brien; Still Scathing: Conor Cruise O'Brien, 90, Left, Says Modern Ireland Is Better without CJ


Byline: LIAM LACEY

FAMOUSLY, he was one of Charles Haughey's most vocal critics.

But even as he enters his tenth decade and with the ex-Taoiseach dead for overa year, it doesn't seem that Conor Cruise O'Brien has mellowed when it comes tohis old target.

Now, however, some of his ire is also reserved for the former Fianna Failleader's most celebrated protege - Bertie Ahern.

In an interview in yesterday's Sunday Independent, Mr Cruise O'Brien, whocelebrates his 90th birthday next weekend, said of modern Ireland: 'There havebeen a lot of improvements, mainly following the death and eventual disgrace ofCJ Haughey, a sort of blight lifted from the land when those events tookplace.' But he added that, following Mr Haughey's death, 'his faithfulfollowers still, including our present Taoiseach, continued to deny everythingthey could possibly do.

'And more to their shame, quite a lot of people either believed them orprotested that they did believe them, the latter being more disgraceful thanthe fore - to deny what they knew to be true.' Following Mr Haughey's deathlast year, Mr Ahern insisted that 'itwouldbeadistortionof history to obscure the fact that Charles Haughey served with distinction inevery ministerial position that he held'.

The Taoiseach told the Dail thathismentor'sfocuswas 'alwaysontheweakandthe more vulnerable in our society' - adding:'Historywillhaveto weigh up both the credit and debit side more dispassionately than may bepossible today but I have no doubt that its ultimate judgmentonCharliewillbe favourable.' Last December, the Moriarty Tribunal ruled that Mr Haugheypocketed millions of euro from wealthybusinessmen over a period of 17 years.

The 600-page report also found that he spent at least some of the money raisedfor a liver transplant operation for his closest political friend, the lateBrian Lenihan. …

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