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Behind Closed Doors

1975

RTÉ One: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

Murder Triangle: Watch clip

The beginning of 1976 saw a series of gruesome sectarian murders in south Armagh, which led the British to announce they were sending the SAS to the area - despite a request from the Government in Dublin for more information before they did so. Meanwhile, the British also considered radical measures to fight cross-Border terrorism.

Body Snatching: Watch clip

In February, IRA hunger striker Frank Stagg died in prison in Britain. His family was split over whether or not he should have an IRA funeral - leading to a struggle between the Government and Republicans over his remains.

Doomsday: Watch clip

The Government was always suspicious about British Prime Minister Harold Wilson's long-term plans for the North - and about talks between British officials and the Republican movement. Newly released documents show they were right to be worried - but that the situation changed when Jim Callaghan took over as Prime Minister.

Assassination: Watch clip

In July, the British Ambassador, Christopher Ewart Biggs, and a civil servant, were killed by an IRA roadside bomb in county Dublin. The assassination led to the introduction of new emergency powers - which in turn raised fears about tactics used by the Gardai.

Thundering Disgrace: Watch clip

The biggest crisis to hit relations between Government and the Presidency erupted when Defence Minister Paddy Donegan called the President a "thundering disgrace" - and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave refused to accept his resignation, prompting the President to leave office.

Light at the end of the tunnel? Watch clip

The Irish economy was slowly beginning to recover from the crisis caused by the Oil Price shock of 1973 - but there were still tensions around the Cabinet table as Finance Minister Richie Ryan struggled to control public spending.

 

Listen to David McCullagh on Morning Ireland

 David McCullagh, Political Correspondent, previews tonight's RTÉ television programme, 'Behind Closed Doors', which looks at the controversy that led to the president's resignation in 1976


 Patrick Cooney, then Minister for Justice, says the 'thundering disgrace' remark referred to President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh's actions and not him personally


 Richie Ryan, then Minister for Finance, says then Defence Minister Paddy Donegan had suffered from an alcohol problem, and that the remarks were made when he was intoxicated


 David McCullagh previews tonight's RTÉ television programme, 'Behind Closed Doors', which looks at the controversy that led to the president's resignation in 1976 [continued]



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