Belfast Telegraph

UK viewed Haughey as 'tribal chief'

By Staff Reporter

Senior UK officials described Taoiseach Charles Haughey as "the tribal chief" in Ireland.

Some in Britain saw Mr Haughey as "a formidable partner for Mrs Thatcher".

Department of Foreign Affairs press officer David Donoghue wrote a confidential briefing note on May 4, 1989. It followed lunch in London with Bruce Anderson of The Sunday Telegraph, a journalist it noted who had been "extremely unhelpful" because of his reporting of the 1987 general election.

Mr Anderson was also quoted as revealing a private conversation he had with Mrs Thatcher's private secretary Charles Powell about Mr Haughey.

"(Mr Powell) described the Taoiseach in complimentary terms as 'the tribal chief' - a reference, as Anderson saw it, to his domestic strength and popularity."

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