State Papers: Haughey era ends as church scandals signal major shift in attitude

1992 marked a changing of the guard in many ways as the seeds were sown for a new Ireland and Northern Ireland peace agreement.

Aoiseach Charles Haughey resigned in January and was replaced by his longtime ally and recent rival Albert Reynolds, who became the fifth leader of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Reynolds, proud of his business credentials, set out to boost the economy and began negotiations on a massive EU infrastructure package.

He also began developing a close relationship with Britain’s new Prime Minister, John Major, to break the deadlock in Northern Ireland.

But while Mr Reynolds returned as Taoiseach in the 1992 general election, it was as part of the Rainbow Coalition following the overwhelming electoral success of Dick Spring and the Labor Party at Spring Tide.

President Mary Robinson was our first Head of State to officially visit Belfast.

The Democratic Left Party was founded by Proinsias de Rossa from a group that had broken away from the Labor Party. Months later he sat at the cabinet table.

Irish society has grown accustomed to the aftermath of Case X, in which the Supreme Court ruled that a 14-year-old girl could travel to the UK for an abortion, overturning the current High Court ban.

Society was also rocked by the aftermath of the Bishop Eamonn Casey scandal when it was revealed he had fathered a child.

He resigned as Bishop of Galway and the Catholic Church in Ireland braced itself for a decade of more scandals.

The issue of industrial schools and the appalling treatment of vulnerable children made national headlines after one performance The Late Late Show by Christine Buckley.

In culture, Linda Martin won the Eurovision Song Contest Why me?, the first in a hat-trick of consecutive Irish wins. There was further success with Neil Jordan’s film The Wine Game was released to rave reviews.

In sport, Shelbourne won his first FAI championship in three decades, while in GAA all of Donegal celebrated as they beat Dublin to lift their first-ever All-Ireland senior football title. At slingshot, Kilkenny beat Cork to win the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

There was further celebration at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when boxer Michael Carruth took Ireland’s first gold in 36 years and Wayne McCullough took silver.

Traditionally, state papers are published after 30 years. However, Ireland has introduced an expedited procedure as the UK releases documents after 20 years.

This year’s material covers events from 1992 to 2002, particularly relating to developments in Northern Ireland. It is common for files from earlier years to be published – one relates to 1950 when playwright George Bernard Shaw asked the Irish Embassy for help in recruiting a chambermaid. State Papers: Haughey era ends as church scandals signal major shift in attitude

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