Read a profile of Sean Haughey written by Johnny Fallon in his recent book; ‘Dynasties – Irish Political Families’
‘Listening to Seán was a welcome reminder of the stoic integrity of the Lemass line, which he inherited from his mother Maureen.’
Eoghan Harris, Sunday Independent, 25/01/2015.
‘Seán Haughey – A dignified son. It has to be said he handled a difficult situation extremely well and deserves to be applauded for so doing.’
Editorial, Irish Examiner, 22/01/2015 #Charlie
‘Seán is admired in Fianna Fáil for his integrity and a certain resilience’.
Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent, 03/03/2012.
‘The Haughey era also ended (maybe) on Saturday in an exit dignified by the behaviour of Seán and his family’
Kathy Sheridan, Irish Times, 28/02/11.
‘In fairness to Seán Haughey, he’s got a lot of respect, he’s regarded as a very hard worker.’
Noirín Hegarty, Today with Pat Kenny, 27/08/10.
‘Haughey is certainly well-liked. Words such as ‘mannerly’, ‘likeable’ and ‘affable’ attach themselves to mention of his name. No one questions his efficiency or basic decency…beneath all the warm fuzziness, however, is a political edge that Haughey reserves for emergencies.’
Louise Holden, Irish Times, 03/02/2009.
‘In private the graduate of economics and politics at Trinity College has a warmer presence and is much more articulate than his public persona suggests.’
Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent, 12/3/08
‘The new member of the government is one of the most popular politicians in Leinster House. Routinely described as pleasant, hard-working and efficient [he has also] shown himself to be a shrewd media operator when the occasion demands it.’
Andrew Lynch, Sunday Business Post, 17/12/06
“Quiet, hard-working and popular with T.D’s from all parties, he is quite simply one of the most decent politicians in Leinster House. “
Andrew Lynch, Evening Herald, 13/12/06
“[Seán] has been a T.D. now for 14 years in Dublin North Central, one of the most competitive constituencies, and has served his constituents quietly and with great courtesy and diligence. Seán Haughey is entitled to a junior position in Government on his own merits. He handled the controversies surrounding his father with great dignity, honesty and humanity. He has diligently given his life to public service.”
Joe Duffy, Ireland on Sunday, 18/6/06
He is a diligent constituency worker, he follows up fairly assiduously and he is a good attender of meetings. He is an honest broker, and he’ll never rock the boat. He’s quiet, he has a sense of humour, and he’s easy to get on with.
Richard Bruton T.D., Fine Gael, Dublin North Central in The Village Magazine, 16-22 February 2006
Although I would have major political differences with Seán Haughey, he’s very likeable on a personal level- very courteous and friendly, the kind of guy you’d go for a pint with.
Finian McGrath T.D., Independent, Dublin North Central, in The Village Magazine, 16-22 February 2006
Dignified – statesmanlike – much-respected.
Barry Egan, Sunday Independent, 19/2/06
One of the best-liked Deputies in the Dáil
Shane Coleman, Sunday Tribune, 19/2/06
On the basis of his brilliant performance on Seán O’Rourke’s show, I believe Haughey is selling himself short. He should hold out for a Senior Ministerial posting – make the man a Minister.
Eoghan Harris, Sunday Independent, 19/2/06
Seán Haughey [is] an able and gifted parliamentarian
Editorial, Sunday Independent, 19/2/06
He is widely respected in Leinster House for the way he goes about the business of politics.
Stephen Collins, Irish Times, 18/2/06
Seán Haughey is a much respected and popular member of the parliamentary party.
Miriam Lord, Irish Independent, 16/2/06
A decent and conscientious public servant.
Irish Independent, Editorial, 16/2/06
‘Mr. Haughey has built a reputation for quiet efficiency.’
Harry McGee, Irish Examiner, 25/1/06
Shy, reserved, hard-working, thoughtful and courteous to a fault, he has gradually amassed allies and admirers on all sides. His promotion to a junior ministry is, everyone says, likely- ,and, say many, overdue…“It’s rare to find a politician so popular right across the spectrum” says one colleague, “but he’s earned the respect of a lot of people who wouldn’t be his natural allies”.
Fiona Looney, Sunday Tribune, 1/1/06
Haughey has considerably more ability than he is given credit for and is a thoughtful contributor to Dáil debates. He would be a popular choice [for promotion] across the political spectrum in Leinster House.
Stephen Collins, Sunday Tribune, 11.12.05
The name is Haughey. Seán Haughey. Modest, gentlemanly, not a man to pull a fast political trick. Liked and respected by constituency colleagues of all parties. Not like his father, no. But this Trinity Economics graduate showed remarkable independence of mind when, only weeks after being appointed to the Chair of the Oireachtas Environment Committee, he slated his own government’s plans to run the M3 motorway through the historic site of Tara.
Still, there are those who say he owes his solid 7,000-plus first preference vote in Dublin North Central to those still fanatically loyal to the Da. Others say, more convincingly, that in fact the Da has been a block to promotion. Seán has been thirteen years in the Dáil and might have expected that a Junior Ministry could have come his way, as it has for Bertie’s brother, Noel, elected at the same time, or for Brian and Conor Lenihan, elected even more recently. But Bertie’s not yet ready to promote a Haughey.
Olivia O’Leary, 5-7 Live, 27/5/05
“Sean Haughey, who has been passed over politically because his name no longer fits Fianna Fail, is in the T.D. of the year shortlist, deservedly.”
Liam Collins, Sunday Independent, 20.3.05
“I know your work – you have developed a hard working reputation in your own right.
Joe Duffy, Liveline, 20.01.‘04
“As good parliamentary performers Drapier has noticed Sean Haughey (and Pat Carey) of Fianna Fail…as solid and consistent”.
Drapier, The Irish Times, 20.12.‘03
“If he was not his father’s son, Sean Haughey, T.D. would have been promoted long ago”
Shane Ross, Sunday Independent, 23.03.‘03
“Sean Haughey comes across as a thoughtful politician and one who has come to terms with his father’s legacy. Vincent Browne declared him as one of the two candidates who most impressed him during his long series of interviews with all the outgoing Dail Deputies”
Miriam Lord, The Irish Independent, 17.05.‘02
“A hard-working TD who speaks regularly in the Dail. Unlike many other backbenchers he makes original observations on the issues he deals with. A decent and likeable deputy, he carries the burden of his father’s fall from grace”
Shane Coleman, Stephan Collins, Liam Reid. The Sunday Tribune, 21.4.02
“Mostly people felt very sympathetic towards him on a personal level saying he’s labouring under the shadow of his father but to his credit he’s emerged from under it and shown he’s his own man…He’s extremely popular. People know he’s gone through a dark night of the soul. He’s conscientious, diligent, solid, reliable..(a) good solid T.D.”
“Tonight with Vincent Browne”, 11.03.02. (Review of the performances of T.D.‘s in Dáil Eireann since 1997)
“Sean Haughey has been extraordinarily good to this programme and to people we know from this programme and (a) very good T.D. …”
JOE DUFFY, LIVELINE 4.2.02.
He has a lot of charm and a lively sense of humour…Sean is unassuming in manner…..but has an inner toughness.
Sean Boyne – Sunday World 11.11.‘01
“Sean exudes worthiness. Many colleagues regard him as an honest, hard-working politician who deserves a break.”
MAEVE SHEEHAN, THE SUNDAY TIMES, 10.12.00
“One of the more sophisticated judgements over the past 4 years since the revelations about Haughey began, is the reaction from the public and politicians to his son, Sean. No-one has ever hinted that Sean Haughey T.D., an honourable, honest and hard-working public representative, should be held responsible for the alleged sins of his father.”
SAM SMYTH, SUNDAY TRIBUNE, 17.10.99
“Young Sean, as they call him in the Northside, has the heart of a lion. His political opponents haven’t a bad word to say about him. He has a face you could trust.”
NELL MCCAFFERTY, SUNDAY TRIBUNE, 23.05.99
“In his time in here Sean has won the quiet respect of members of all sides. Drapier has never heard a bad word against him. He gets on with his job, does his constituency work conscientiously and fulfils his parliamentary obligations. His contributions are never showy or spectacular but are always solid and based on great common sense. He is one of the decent people in here who just get on with the job, and if his name was not Haughey he might well have been in line for a Junior Ministry when Bertie Ahern formed this Government. He would have made a good job of it. All Drapier can say is that he is not alone in admiring his stoic behaviour in the face of an extraordinary difficult and hurtful situation.”
DRAPIER, THE IRISH TIMES, 22.05.99
“Young Sean Haughey (21) is his mother’s son and has something of her retiring ways in normal conversation. Put a political microphone in front of him and he’s his father’s son down to the ground, a young firebrand, but with a strong note of realism running through his remarks.”
JOHN HEALY, THE IRISH TIMES, 11.4.83
‘The following is an extract from the book by Johnny Fallon entitled ‘Dynasties-Irish Political Families’ first published by New Island in 2011’
“Sean Haughey, until the most recent election, continued to be the standard bearer for both the Lemass and Haughey names in the Dail. Having a grandfather and father of such national fame could be considered an unbearable weight on anyone’s shoulders. Sean Haughey has grown accustomed to it, and handled the situation in admirable fashion. He was twenty-four when he became a Dublin City Councillor having studied Economics and Politics at Trinity College Dublin.
He did not, though, find the Haughey name providing him with much electoral advantage while his father was leader of the party. He failed to get elected in 1987 and again in 1989. However, he served as Mayor of Dublin in 1989 to 1990, and this greatly helped to increase his profile. The Senate provided a springboard for his ambitions, where he served from 1987 to 1992. During the General Election of 1992 he had a better opportunity as his father stepped down from politics. He had little difficulty in securing the seat and his name did not harm his chances in the old family stamping ground of Dublin North Central. He was still only thirty-one.
There was little doubt that Haughey had to learn his trade but revelations about his father’s personal finances obviously created major difficulties for his career. Although he was considered bright and very able, Bertie Ahern did not offer him any position after the 1997 General Election. For many commentators this was understandable, in as much as it would have caused difficulties for both Fianna Fail and put Sean Haughey under a particular spotlight.
Sean Haughey’s amicable nature was respected around Leinster House regardless. People understood how difficult the period must have been for him, but Haughey showed remarkable fortitude. He did not seek to attack those who condemned his father for any base familial reasons. He did not condone what his father had done, and neither did he seek to distance himself from the controversy nor from his father, and this too gained him respect and sympathy.
After the 2002 Election, many people felt that he was one of the bright young lights of the party and should get an opportunity rather than be punished for the sins of his father. However, the call did not come. After the reshuffle of 2004 there was much surprise when Haughey was still not promoted, and some speculated that it was due to the fact that Bertie Ahern did not want to underline any links to the Haughey era with which people connected him so fervently. This rose to even greater levels in 2006 when yet again Haughey was overlooked for promotion. This was at a time when virtually every commentator in the country had tipped Sean Haughey for higher office.
The reasoning behind Ahern’s decision is unclear, but certainly some personal rancour seems to have been involved. The decision by the Taoiseach caused Haughey to suggest that he was going to have to consider his future in politics. This was understandable. Now forty-six, Haughey knew that if his time was not going to come soon then he would not have much of a career to look forward to. A career lived out on the back benches was not appealing to a man with his ability or lineage.
Haughey received enormous support, both from the media and from the Fianna Fail organisation in his decision. The level of support was unexpected. Ahern had misjudged the popularity of Sean Haughey, and the willingness of the Irish people to see him forge a career separate to what might be attached to his father’s name. Desperately, Ahern sought to fix the problem, and Sile De Valera, who had decided she was not going to seek re-election, was leaned upon to resign her junior ministry. Haughey himself was not at ease with this approach, although it received much support in the wider party as many felt that De Valera had been wrong to hold on to her post after her decision to step down from politics had been made.
De Valera seemed unwilling to bow to pressure at first, however the need for the party to be put above oneself was well understood and she relented, but waited until the following December to do so on her own timescale.
Haughey had finally made it into the junior ministerial ranks, and he was reappointed to this position in the wake of the 2007 General Election. Brian Cowen showed no desire to promote him further, but this may have as much to do with Cowen’s unwillingness to force any current Cabinet members to step down as any wish not to see Haughey promoted.
Whether Haughey could have gone further is undoubtable in terms of his potential. Unfortunately, time was against him. Haughey was, like so many others, unable to hold his seat for Fianna Fail in the 2011 Election, and yet another dynasty came crashing to the ground. Sean Haughey had struggled long and hard to rebuild the family name, and had gone a considerable distance in doing this, which was no small achievement in itself. But a failure to attain a full cabinet post left him unable to fully rehabilitate the dynastic image. He has faced great adversity in his career, and rarely of his own making”.
Sean Haughey is in some ways remarkable. The ability to rise after such a mortal blow seemed to have been dealt to the Haughey name should not be underestimated. The support he gained from the media and the general public in relation to his promotion to a junior ministry suggests that he has indeed gone some way to repairing a little of the damage. He is well liked and, interestingly, it would seem that for the Irish people the sins of the father should not necessarily be the burden of the son.
There is little doubt but that Sean Haughey, as a blood relative of Sean Lemass, has shown more of his grandfather’s style than his father’s. It was remarkable that as Fianna Fail tried to regroup after the mortal blow of the 2011 Election, most of the talk could be boiled down to a desire to move back to the ideals of Lemass and away from the ideals of Haughey. Sean Haughey must find himself in a very strange and often uncomfortable position when such a debate rages.
Seán Haughey is unlikely to make any further forays into politics.
Will we ever see this house rise again?
Only time will tell.”