"We are living away beyond our means" - in a famous television broadcast in January 1980, new Taoiseach Charles Haughey identified the problems facing the Irish economy. But he did little or nothing to act on his insight. The newly released State papers from 1980 give new insights into exactly how - and why - Haughey failed to tackle the problem. They also show that the new Taoiseach had expensive tastes, even with the taxpayers' money, especially when it came to entertaining foreign dignitaries.
The new Taoiseach was also keen to build a relationship with the British Prime Minsiter, Margaret Thatcher, in an effort to strike a deal between the two Governments on the future of Northern Ireland. But the secret papers show that while the British were surprised at how helpful Haughey was on security, he undermined his own success by overselling his agreements with Thatcher.
1980 also saw the first Hunger Strike in the H-Blocks. The strike was called off just before Christmas, without any deaths, but the prisoners believed they had been double-crossed by the British - sowing the seeds for the following year's hunger strike led by Bobby Sands."