Daughter hits out at salacious ‘Haughey’

The daughter of former justice minister Seán Doherty has attacked RTE’s depiction of him in a mini-series centred on Charles Haughey.

Roscommon-based Fianna Fáil councillor Rachel Doherty branded the portrayal “cartoonish”.

Her intervention follows criticism, last week, by Mary O’Rourke, a former cabinet member, of the way her brother Brian Lenihan had been presented.

Claiming the three-part mini-series Haughey was “salacious”, Ms Doherty insisted the portrayal of her late father was “unfair”.

Mr Doherty, a former garda, resigned from Fianna Fáil after his successor as justice minister, Michael Noonan, revealed in 1983 that he had approved the phone tapping of journalists considered to be a threat to Mr Haughey.

After initially insisting that Mr Haughey was not aware of the tapping, Mr Doherty in the early 1990s admitted he had known. This eventually led to a heave against Mr Haughey, again serving as taoiseach, and the downfall of his government

In the second episode, aired on Sunday, a newly promoted Mr Doherty tells Mr Haughey: “Your back is my back, boss.”

Ms Doherty said family and friends of the former justice minister had not been approached by programme makers, and such dialogue was “complete conjecture”.

She said the series amounted to a “vicious attack” on her father who had died in 2005, aged 60, and who, she insisted, had “a serious, bright, intelligent mind” despite the TV depiction.

“To say that licence was taken with his character and others is an understatement. I really feel at this stage it has undermined the credibility of the programme.

“Every single scene, there is an attempt to discredit him and his record, previously in the gardaí and also during his time in government.

“This is not the person that was my late father. It was not the Seán Doherty that represented the people of Roscommon.

“I think it’s in bad taste overall. It’s obviously trying to get a high viewership. It’s salacious in its content and, quite frankly, apart from being sad and upset this morning, I’m angry and disgusted,” Ms Doherty told RTÉ.

Ms O’Rourke, who was unhappy about the depiction of her brother, said Mr Doherty was a “lively and bright colleague”.

The former transport minister said she was “troubled” by the way Mr Lenihan was shown on screen.

“I was a bit troubled by the depiction of Brian, Brian Lenihan Sr. He was carrying Charvet shirts up the stairs after Charlie. I’m quite sure Brian Lenihan just never did that,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Ms O’Rourke — who served as a minister in Mr Haughey’s final government — said she thought a number of relatives of other politicians depicted in the drama may have felt “bashed on” by the programme makers.

The ex-Fianna Fáil TD said that her brother was “amiable and sincere”, but that despite the criticism she found the programme to be “riveting”.

The mini-series, starring Aiden Gillen and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor has, however, proved a ratings success for the State broadcaster.


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