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The Murderer and the Taoiseach

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399718592

Price: £15.99

ON SALE: 18th May 2023

Genre: Biography & True Stories

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A Murderer. A Leader. The Scandal of an Era.

‘Reads like a thriller but is sadly all too true … a brilliant account of shocking crimes and the dramatic political crisis they caused’ David McCullagh

The summer of 1982 was long-seared into the Irish public imagination for more than just its record high temperatures. That July, an aristocrat named Malcolm Macarthur went on a brutal killing spree, taking the lives of two innocent young people – Bridie Gargan and Dónal Dunne – in a doomed plan to remedy his financial woes.

A massive manhunt was launched and, in a sensational turn of events, Macarthur was captured in the home of the State’s top law officer, Attorney General Patrick Connolly.

The scandal attracted worldwide headlines and resulted in untold damage to Taoiseach Charles Haughey. The words he used to describe the dark events – grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented – coined the era-defining phrase GUBU.

Here, award-winning political journalist and GUBU podcast-maker Harry McGee retraces the happenings of that long hot summer and beyond. From the cat-and-mouse game to track down an unpredictable killer to Macarthur’s extraordinary capture, he considers both the life and psyche of a murderer, and that of the leading political figure of the time – a man similarly driven by greed, status and a sense of himself as existing above the law.

Including previously unknown aspects of the trial and interaction with Malcolm Macarthur himself, The Murderer and the Taoiseach is a compulsive journey through tragedy and scandal.

‘Brisk, illuminating, crackling with detail’ Tony Connelly

‘An incredible and compelling story’ Matt Cooper


This remains an incredible and compelling story more than forty years on. It is done justice with Harry McGee's keen eye for detail and is told with great style
Matt Cooper
This gripping book reads like a thriller - but is sadly all too true. Considerable research and original material are skilfully woven into a fast-paced, brilliant account of shocking crimes, and of the dramatic political crisis which they caused. A highly readable and important book
David McCullagh
GUBU marked the loss of Irish innocence, a collision of politics and evil that was as shambolic as it was banal. McGee's narrative is brisk and luminous, cracking with detail, characters and analysis, bringing the twin legacies of Malcolm Macarthur and Charles Haughey to a gripping finale
Tony Connelly
Journalist Harry McGee goes a lot deeper in his compelling new analysis of those murders
Irish Independent
The book is strongest on the political fallout from the case
Irish Times
impressively researched and vividly written ... This is a Gubu book for very different reasons, gripping, unpretentious, brilliant, and unputdownable
Sunday Business Post
McGee is a natural storyteller with a telling eye for detail, and he recounts the tale with gusto
Irish Examiner