1989 State Papers: Haughey promises Mayo GAA ‘ Famine is Nearly Over’

State Papers 1989

The 1989 General election and Mayo football features prominently in the release today of the State Papers from the same year. Taoiseach, Fianna Fail Leader and Castlebar native Charles Haughey called a snap general election in June 1989.

In Mayo, a FF campaign promising to deliver Sam Maguire, within the life-time of the next government, was the central theme of all FF candidates. A 38 year drought could not be overlooked any longer.

Immigration and Jobs were correctly forecast as minor issues.

” We’ve always had one and we’ll never have the other – This election is all about Sam – And I don’t mean Samantha Fox……..”  –  a prominent local Fianna Fail publican, town councillor, county councillor, senator and MEP commented on the Mayo FF election strategy.


However in a stunning reversal of fortune in the rest of the country  – Fianna Fail lost 4 seats and ended up in it’s first ever coalition with the Progressive Democrats.

In an eerily similiar fashion, Mayo narrowly lost the 1989 All-Ireland to Cork with many experts  ( Fianna Fail handlers)  placing the blame firmly at the door of Dessie O’Malley and the criminal negotiation tactics utilized by the Progressive Democrats to form a government.

The All Ireland defeat led to a near collapse of the newly formed coalition in early October. Haughey specifically mandated Des O’Malley and the PD’s to climb down from their high horses on the Mayo issue.


In his end of 1989 address Haughey assured Mayo voters that the famine was very nearly over. Soon he would get his hands on an overall majority ( or Des O’Malley’s neck) and then deliver a couple of All Ireland’s and an apparition of our Lady in the Knock Basilica.

We look forward to the release of the 1990 State papers and will update our readers as to whether Haughey and Mayo were successful.

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Combat Arena – Information appearing in Combat Arena Satire section is entirely satirical and is not to be taken as in anyway factual.

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