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Haughey's response to the sinking of the Belgrano - Charlie's finest hour?


borntorum

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One of the main topics covered by the release of the State Papers for 1982 is the Falklands War and the Irish government's response to it. When the Argentinians invaded the islands, Ireland originally sided with the international consensus in opposing the takeover. However, the FF government's position changed sharply after the British sank the Belgrano.

First out of the blocks was minister for defence Paddy Power who told a Fianna Fáil meeting at Edenderry, Co Offaly: “Obviously Britain themselves are very much the aggressors now.” He linked it to a recent incident in which an Irish trawler, the Sharelga, was sunk when a British submarine, HMS Porpoise, got entangled in the fishing nets.
Ireland was a member of the United Nations Security Council at the time and, on May 4th, the Haughey government issued a statement that it was seeking an immediate meeting of the council to prepare a resolution calling for a ceasefire by both sides, but made no reference to a previous resolution demanding an immediate Argentine withdrawal. The statement also rejected European sanctions as “no longer appropriate”. Although ultimately there was no UN ceasefire resolution and the EEC did renew the sanctions, with Ireland and Italy dissenting, the statement marked a major rift in British-Irish relations.
There are very differing views of the government's approach in the weekend papers. Deaglán de Breadún in the Irish Times suggests that

it could be argued that, for all his well-publicised failings as a political leader, this was, in the Churchillian phrase, Charlie’s finest hour.
On the other hand, a rather craven piece in the Sunday Independent by Ronan Fanning, who alleges that Haughey was Anglophobic, posits a very different view:

But this humiliating outcome for Haughey's self-indulgent exercise in Brit-bashing cannot disguise the fact that the damage done to Anglo-Irish relations was immense.
He cast aside whatever residual influence he had with Thatcher at an especially turbulent and dangerous time in Northern Ireland. The result was her statement of July 29, 1982 that "no commitment exists for Her Majesty's government to consult the Irish government on matters affecting Northern Ireland".
He ignored the damage to the Irish economy, especially in regard to inward investment. He ignored the embarrassment and abuse visited on the Irish living in Britain.
By identifying, in effect, with the Argentinian military dictatorship, he undermined Ireland's role in promoting human rights, especially in Latin America; by a strange irony, Ireland was elected to the UN Commission for Human Rights for the first time in the middle of the crisis, on May 6, 1982.
My own opinion is closer to de Breadún's than Fanning's. The Falklands was an imperial war and the sinking of the Belgrano was a disgraceful act. Given the craven approach of Irish governments, of all hues, in international affairs, it is instructive to remember that previous Taoisigh were willing to stand up against the actions of the larger powers, even if it was not in our short term interest.

Major rift in relations after British sank 'Belgrano' - The Irish Times - Fri, Dec 28, 2012

Ronan Fanning : Haughey's Brit bashing on Falklands cost us dear - Analysis, Opinion - Independent.ie
 


Analyzer

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I am sure the thousands of Irish people working in England, while Ireland was going from crisis to cathastrophe, would have been undoubtedly cheered up at the sight of a mob rouser like Squire Hockey putting on the green jersey and playing to the national pride of skint Irish people everywhere....and embarrassing them again. [and perhaps even convincing some of the to stay away longer].

Let's face it....even Ahern would have had more sense, and even Gilmore would have had a better comprehension of third world diplomacy....
 

Con Gallagher

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Surely his finest hour was either his Presidency of the EC Council when he facilitated German reunification by not acceding to British demands that it be delayed and enduring that it was firmly on the agenda of the presidency (it might only be a footnote in history but it was an important role). His other great triumph was implementing the programme for national recovery in 1987-89 (the deficit was slashed from 8% under FG/lab to 1.6% in two years).
 

Analyzer

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I am sure Squire Hockey looked at the Argentine Junta, and casting his mind back to his own military family connections, plus his less than illustrious past from the era of the Arms Trial, and felt a soft spot from the Argentine boss, Galtieri.

In fact he might have even felt a small bit of envy, considering how the regime in Argentina was able to kick around dissenting voices, while he had to endure a gap toothed mouthpiece from Kildare threaten his leadership as frequently as he could muster some support against the Big Don in Kinsealy.

To bad Squire Raheny decided to then go the rest of the way, and run the country like a latin american failed state, by appointing pals to run state companies, and into the judiciary, by borrowing like crazy to support institutional waste (just like occurs nowadays), squeeze the life out of the private sector, drive away investement, and run down the currency....and all the time proclaim the importance of national pride.

Haughey was the third world ruler type that we could have done without. His only real selling point was the confused ramblings of the alternative.
 
Last edited:

Colin M

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I am sure Squire Hockey looked at the Argentine Junta, and casting his mind back to his own military family connections, plus his less than illustrious past from the era of the Arms Trial, and felt a soft spot from the boss, Galtieri.

To bad he decided to then go the rest of the way, and run the country like a latin american failed state, by appointing pals to run state companies, and into the judiciary....
I believe his old ancestors did hail from the great country of Argentina ... and Brazil..... and Chile.....
 

bye bye mubarak

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Firstly, it was silly because the Belgrano was a perfectly valid target.

Secondly, Haughey was concurrently earning tens of millions of pounds from bribes and from ripping of the exchequer, turning one of the oldest democracies in Western Europe into Equatorial Guinea, so it would take a lot more than criticizing Thatcher for anybody to have any sort of positive opinion about him.
Why a vwlid target - at a time when there wws a thinking that there might have been a peaceful resolution, the Belgrano was sailing away from the exclusion zone, it clearly was not a valid target at apl. This was exposed live on tv when pressed by a member of the public, did I also hear the log of the submarine whivh sank the Belgrano 'dissappeared'.
 

MacO'velli

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I believe his old ancestors did hail from the great country of Argentina ... and Brazil..... and Chile.....
Of course Eneneezer Bin Haughey was a sheep herder in nazareth 2012 years ago when one night he spied a star in the sky over a cave...............
 

Eire1976

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One of the main topics covered by the release of the State Papers for 1982 is the Falklands War and the Irish government's response to it. When the Argentinians invaded the islands, Ireland originally sided with the international consensus in opposing the takeover. However, the FF government's position changed sharply after the British sank the Belgrano.



There are very differing views of the government's approach in the weekend papers. Deaglán de Breadún in the Irish Times suggests that



On the other hand, a rather craven piece in the Sunday Independent by Ronan Fanning, who alleges that Haughey was Anglophobic, posits a very different view:



My own opinion is closer to de Breadún's than Fanning's. The Falklands was an imperial war and the sinking of the Belgrano was a disgraceful act. Given the craven approach of Irish governments, of all hues, in international affairs, it is instructive to remember that previous Taoisigh were willing to stand up against the actions of the larger powers, even if it was not in our short term interest.

Major rift in relations after British sank 'Belgrano' - The Irish Times - Fri, Dec 28, 2012

Ronan Fanning : Haughey's Brit bashing on Falklands cost us dear - Analysis, Opinion - Independent.ie
Such a pity that Haughey didn't stay as Taoiseach for a full term. It would have been great to see Maggie get a beating time and time from a proper nationalist taoiseach who wasn't in the pocket of MI5.
 

sking81

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Surely his finest hour was either his Presidency of the EC Council when he facilitated German reunification by not acceding to British demands that it be delayed and enduring that it was firmly on the agenda of the presidency (it might only be a footnote in history but it was an important role).
So it was Haughey that let the Krauts back out of the bag? Surely then, he's the blame for our economic woes...the Germans would never have been able to re-conquer Europe if it wasn’t for him :D
 

A view from England

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Such a pity that Haughey didn't stay as Taoiseach for a full term. It would have been great to see Maggie get a beating time and time from a proper nationalist taoiseach who wasn't in the pocket of MI5.
He'd have been a great asset to MI5 with his phone tapping knowledge.
 

Analyzer

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Such a pity that Haughey didn't stay as Taoiseach for a full term. It would have been great to see Maggie get a beating time and time from a proper nationalist taoiseach who was in the pocket of AIB.
Fixed that for ya !
 

Analyzer

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He'd have been a great asset to MI5 with his phone tapping knowledge.
Correction. With his knowledge of phone tapping, Haughey was only a liability. He got found out.

Even Murdoch's comics got away with it for longer.
 

gerrymac

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Firstly, it was silly because the Belgrano was a perfectly valid target.

Secondly, Haughey was concurrently earning tens of millions of pounds from bribes and from ripping of the exchequer, turning one of the oldest democracies in Western Europe into Equatorial Guinea, so it would take a lot more than criticizing Thatcher for anybody to have any sort of positive opinion about him.
The sinking of the Belgrano was a war crime.Thatcher even at this late stage should stand trial.
 

flavirostris

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Such a pity that Haughey didn't stay as Taoiseach for a full term. It would have been great to see Maggie get a beating time and time from a proper nationalist taoiseach who wasn't in the pocket of MI5.
I'm assuming this was supposed to be in the sick joke thread. A *proper nationalist* who aped Anglo Irish aristos by living in a big house and riding to hounds.

Ireland you're rearing them still.
 

edifice.

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Thatcher wanted her Churchill moment, a military victory on her CV. Haughey, like the body politic in this State, postured and retreated, the parish pump republicans satisfied.
 

borntorum

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Thatcher wanted her Churchill moment, a military victory on her CV. Haughey, like the body politic in this State, postured and retreated, the parish pump republicans satisfied.
What should he have done, invaded Holyhead?
 

edifice.

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What should he have done, invaded Holyhead?
Hurd was interviewed and said that in relation to EU sanctions against Argentina Dublin tried to use the issue to get undertakings on Farm prices. The way Hurd laughed convinced me that when ever the man feels down he reminds himself of this to cheer himself up.
 

pippakin

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Haughey, like most of our leaders was a joke and as always the joke was on us.
 

yobosayo

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The sinking of the Belgrano was a war crime.Thatcher even at this late stage should stand trial.
In announcing the establishment of a Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Falkland Islands, Her Majesty's Government made it clear that this measure was without prejudice to the right of the United Kingdom to take whatever additional measures may be needed in the exercise of its right of self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In this connection Her Majesty's Government now wishes to make clear that any approach on the part of Argentine warships, including submarines, naval auxiliaries or military aircraft, which could amount to a threat to interfere with the mission of British Forces in the South Atlantic will encounter the appropriate response. All Argentine aircraft, including civil aircraft engaged in surveillance of these British forces, will be regarded as hostile and are liable to be dealt with accordingly.
 

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