Haughey tried to grope me, says Robinson

Shamed former taoiseach Charlie Haughey “tried to grope” television presenter Anne Robinson while she was covering the 1969 general election.

The claim was made by The Weakest Link host in a joint interview with her daughter in light of the recent Jimmy Savile abuse revelations.

Speaking to the Guardian, the self-styled queen of mean — who became the first female trainee at the Daily Mail in 1967, aged 23, — revealed the workplace attitude to women during the era.

And while she separated the chauvinistic attitude from the criminal allegations surrounding the late Savile, she admitted she was also the target of inappropriate behaviour — including from Mr Haughey.

“Looking back, we used to keep lists of men who weren’t safe in taxis, ‘NST’, and those who were ‘NSL’, not safe in lifts, they were a bit quicker with their hands than NSTs.

“I think my best experience was with Charlie Haughey, who was then Ireland’s minister of justice.

“I like to imagine he went to his grave with my bruises on his hands after he tried to grope me during the 1969 Irish elections,” she said.

Mr Haughey was publicly shamed when revelations over his financial practices were revealed by the Moriarty Tribunal.

He also gained infamy for an illicit 27-year affair with gossip columnist Terry Keane.

While Ms Robinson said she was able to handle the advances of Mr Haughey and others, she said young women today are still at risk of workplace abuse.

“What women need to learn is to give over a message of: ‘Don’t mess with me.’ I still think it’s difficult, particularly in this job market [media], if you’ve got a boss who’s behaving inappropriately, and your job depends upon it.

“It doesn’t matter how much legislation there is, if they’ve got the power over you and your career depends on it, you are in a very difficult situation.

“I remember having just had an interview for a news reporter’s job on the Sunday Times. It was 1969. I then went off on a foreign trip, and another senior Sunday Times journalist who was also on the trip, and had a stake in my future, made a pass at me.

“And I thought: ‘Oh golly what am I going to do?’ I want that job, I don’t want to upset this person. It was difficult to deal with.”

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