Magills People of 1977
Liam Cosgrave was the major casualty of 1977, having begun the year, as he began the election campaign, believing that he was invincible. The coalition failed to commission opinion polls to determine the state of public opinion before the election and when their first polls became available a few days after the campaign was begun, several ministers took themselves back to their constituencies to save their own hides. Cosgrave, however, either didn't believe the polls or didn't understand their significance and, right up to the election count, remained convinced that he was invulnerable.
Since the defeat he has been surprisingly depressed for several months, but more recently has come 'out of himself' according to a friend. He has been riding most mornings and has taken part in several hunts in south county Dublin.
Cosgrave's retirement as leader of Fine Gael was diggnified and generous. Though he never got on well with Garret FitzGerald he clearly identified him as the most able successor and fully enndorsed his election as leader in a surprisingly forthcoming manner at the critical party meeting.
The central figures in the Fianna Fail election victory have been well identified by now, including Jack Lynch himself, Seamus Brennan, George Colley, Charles Haughey, Martin O'Donoghue, Michael Yeats, and a handful of advertising people, notably Desmond O'Kennedy, Peter Owens, and Des O'Meara. But perhaps the most crucial character in the landslide succcess was Senator Eoin Ryan, the campaign director, who was since tipped for a junior ministry, with responsibility for Northern Ireland policy directly under the Taoiseach.
That idea has fallen through, however. Shortly after the election Ryan was approached by Lynch and asked if he would take the jo b. Ryan was initially attraccted by the offer but later appreciated that the critical decisions on Northern policy would be taken either by the Taoiseach himself or by the Department of Foreign Affairs. In addition he had to balance the attractiveness of a junior ministry against the lucrativeness of the Bar.
Lynch now won't bother to appoint any special emisssary, as the press described it, to the North. Ruairi Brugha has been appointed to the European Parliament and thus is ineligible and there is no one else that Lynch would trust with the job.
In any event Lynch himmself is playing a low profile as Taoiseach at present. The number of his public engageements is truly astonishing and the latitude he allows his ministers is considerable. For the time being he is very much a chairman and not a chief, to coin a phrase.
The media successes of 1977were Brian Farrell for authorative presentation of the election results in spite of one of the most thorough technological cock-ups that even RTE has known; also two reporters with The Irish Times, Don Buckley and Joe Joyce, (now with Hibernia) for their courageous expoosure of Garda brutality and the fingerprint scandal.
The sports stars of the year were few, but clearly deserving of mention is Tony Hanahoe, manager/captain of the Dublin football team who managed to retain the All Ireland title and looks set to win the football league. Hanaahoe did the almost impossible ~ taking over a team at the height of its success and keepping it there. His discipline in maintaining fitness and motiivation after the semi-final vicctory over Kerry for the final with Armagh was particularly impressive.
Another footballer worthy of mention is Jimmy Barry Murphy who, though he led the Cork team to an ignomiinious defeat in Killarney against Kerry in the Munster final, scored a notable victory over the' Cork GAA aparattchics on. the Addidas issue, and then went on to playa notable part in the All Ireland victory of the Cork hurling team.
Johnny Giles was obbviously the dominant persoonality in soccer, but the year for rugby was dismal with the sale relief of Willie' Duggan's success with the Lions in New Zealand.
In our October issue we pubblished a directory of Irish left groups. We credited Carol Coulter with responsibility for the piece, but while she provided the basic research material, the editorial slant was our own
Our last wish would be to dissturb the honey-sweet AnglooIrish relations. So we are
more than happy to correct an impression we left with our October issue which was that the current British ammbassador, Robert Haydon, was the culprit in the Munich fiasco of 1972, when after an Olympic games meeting beetween Ted Heath and Jack Lynch the British press officer 'misbriefed' the media
about an alleged dressing down that Lynch had reeceived from Heath. Ambasssador Haydon was nowhere in sight at the time, being then High Commissioner in Malawi.
However our report that his presence was an irritant in Anglo-Irish relations was not incorrect as the Taoiseach suffered from the same mis-
taken belief as ourselves. We are happy to re-assure Mr. Lynch now that His Excelllence Robert Haydon was not the person involved and thus normal diplomatic relations between our two countries can be resumed.