By Vincent Browne
Garret, the Garda Review and senator Sean O'Leary
Charlie Haughey has been of the belief in recent months, we understand, that the election could be run and won on a one issue platform - the one issue being the Northern Ireland question. This proves, once again, that politicians never learn anything from past experience. Jack Lynch tried that one on in 1973 and came a cropper as prices and jobs took over as the main themes of the campaign after the first week.
Garret FitzGerald interviewed by Vincent Browne
Magill: I remember a conversation I had with you in 1967 at a dinner given by Liam Cosgrave in the Gresham for Fine Gael's education policy committee in which you said that your primary objective would be, if you ever became Taoiseach, a redistribution of wealth. Is this still your objective?
When Noel and Marie Murray were sentenced to death in 1976 for the capital murder of Garda Reynolds there was a widespread belief that it would be unthinkable that the Coalition Government, comprising so many self-confessed liberals, would not commute the sentence to life imprisonment. In the event the issue didn't arise because of the intervention of the Supreme Court but there has been telling evidence since then that, had it come to a decision by the cabinet at the time, there would have been a majority in favour of execution.
Their divergent lifestyles and temperaments have prompted more than one acquaintance to describe them as, "the odd couple", with Owen O'Connor playing Oscar to Niall O'Sullivan's Felix. But whatever the most apt analogy may be, they combine into one of the most effective and enterprising teams in Irish advertising.
That an assessment of the budget must be done strictly in terms of considerations of political expediency is a reflection on the degeneracy of Irish politics generally. In a report on the Labour Party in this issue, we show how removed that party's deliberations are nowadays from any socialist perspective.
The basic problem of Northern Ireland continues to be the existence of the state itself
The intractability of the Northern Ireland problem was as well demonstrated in the first month of 1981 as at any other time in the last 60 years. Blatant bias was displayed in the courts in favour of British soldiers who had brutally murdered two farm workers in October 1972, with the senior soldier involved, Captain Snowball, being freed having pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact - an offence which would merit any republican at least 12 years imprisonment.
The H-Block issue has caused divisions in Irish society deeper than any exposed during the last decade of troubles in Northern Ireland. Not alone are the unionist and, nationalist communities now sharply polarized again, but there has arisen the spectre of a deep and hostile division between the nationalist community in the North and the vast majority of the people of southern Ireland.
The Berry Papers reveal that the purpose of the secret meeting between Desmond O'Malley, then Minister for Justice, and Charles Haughey, then a defendant in the arms trial, on September 9, 1970, was for the purpose of getting Mr. Peter Berry to withdraw his evidence against Mr. Haughey. The Papers disclose that Mr. Haughey enquired of Mr. O'Malley if Mr. Berry could be "induced", "directed" or "intimidated" into not giving evidence.