This article will assess conflicting accounts of Charles Haughey's political record in relation to Northern Ireland. It is argued that his approach cannot be understood without reference to the changing influences affecting his position. While the importance of competition between Haughey and Garret FitzGerald and the factions within Fianna Fáil have been acknowledged, the emergence of Sinn Féin in the early 1980s as an influencing factor has been overlooked. The article will outline the extent to which Sinn Féin conditioned the language used by Fianna Fáil throughout the 1980s and will analyse, in particular, the importance for Fianna Fáil of the 1988 talks with Sinn Féin. The article will also illustrate the significance of these talks for the Northern Ireland peace process itself and for the principles of consent and self-determination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations