It’s 1989 and Charles J Haughey has been leading Ireland for a few years but the majority he has always craved remains elusive. A bid for absolute power and a fitting legacy leaves him exposed as his enemies circle.
Having split his party and sent O’Malley packing, Charlie’s back as leader of a minority Fianna Fáil administration. This time he’s in complete control of his party and he’s playing a blinder. With the IMF breathing down his neck, he has shredded the country’s spending and its debts. He now plays the elder statesman. Everything is in the national interest, and, his popularity generally seeming to increase.
Overly confident, he thinks a snap election will win him the majority he feels he needs to seal his legacy. The electorate think otherwise and he is forced into a personally humiliating and politically suicidal coalition with his old nemesis Des O’Malley and his splinter PD party. Now it is about the maintenance of power at all costs.
He seeks to re-ignite the peace process in Northern Ireland. And as President of the European Community he promotes the cause of fiscal union in Europe. On the domestic stage, Deputy Leader Brian Lenihan is caught in a lie, and all eyes are on Charlie. What will he do? He fires him from the government, and Lenihan subsequently loses the Irish Presidential election. With former allies falling by the wayside, at least Charlie’s playing a blinder on the European stage, celebrating the reunification of Germany. Then Albert Reynolds attempts a coup. Charlie survives, only to face a new threat. His former Minister for Justice Seán Doherty publicly claims that Charlie knew all about the phone tapping.
Charlie resigns in his own style, in the Dáil, all alone as he accepted power.