Family refutes claim Haughey turned down operation

The Haughey family has slammed claims made in a new book that former taoiseach Charles J Haughey turned down an operation that may have saved his life following a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

The Haughey family issued a strongly-worded statement refuting the claim which is included in a new book, 1916: The Mornings After — From the Courts Martial to the Tribunals’. They described it as “utterly untrue and highly hurtful” and claimed author Tim Pat Coogan had used “fictitious” stories concerning CJ Haughey “to help publicise his new book”.

According to the statement: “The family of Charles Haughey are deeply upset and disappointed at the false claims made by Mr Tim Pat Coogan in his new book, incorrectly suggesting their father refused an operation that could have prolonged his life.

“The book claims Charles Haughey was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, but declined life-saving surgery. This is utterly untrue and highly hurtful to the family of the former Taoiseach.

“The family would like to put on record that their father Charles Haughey never refused ‘life- saving’ surgery concerning his prostate cancer or any other illness.”

The Haughey family also claim they are confident that Charles Haughey’s doctors would have betrayed client-patient confidentiality were they to have discussed the matter with anyone, and so the family “question the sources behind Mr Coogan’s claims”, noting the quotes used to back up the claim are unattributed.

The statement added: “While Mr Coogan is well known for his colourful tales, the family of Mr Haughey is saddened that the author would use fictitious stories concerning their father, who died in 2006 aged 80, to help publicise his new book. The family have no further comment to make concerning this deeply unsettling matter.”

It is understood that legal advisers for the family have made contact with the publisher of the book, Head of Zeus, who made no comment yesterday.

In the book, Mr Coogan writes of Haughey: “He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, but was assured that if the prostate was removed he would survive. However, he was also informed that the operation would render him impotent. He refused to undergo the procedure, even though he was warned that in all probability the cancer would thereby spread and kill him. He refused the operation saying: ‘No: there’s life in the old man yet.’ He died in 2006.”


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