Who was Grace Brett and why did she call the Áras on that fateful night?

A Kilkenny woman’s name was included on the list of people who telephoned Áras an Uachtaráin on the night in 1982 when then-President Patrick Hillery was deliberating on whether to dissolve the Dáil and call an election after the Government had fallen, according to an episode of Scannal that aired on TG4 last week.

A Kilkenny woman’s name was included on the list of people who telephoned Áras an Uachtaráin on the night in 1982 when then-President Patrick Hillery was deliberating on whether to dissolve the Dáil and call an election after the Government had fallen, according to an episode of Scannal that aired on TG4 last week.

The episode explored the controversy over the phone calls – whether they were made and who made them – and how they came to be the downfall of Brian Lenihan Sr’s 1990 presidential campaign.

Mr Lenihan consistently and vehemently denied ever having made such a call, but during his campaign a taped interview surfaced in which he said that he had in fact called the Áras that night.

In the end, the Scannal episode pointed to the official military log of phone calls to the Áras that night.

On it are messages from Mr C. Haughey, including: “I am leader of the largest party in the Dáil. I wish to speak to the president on a constitutional matter and it is urgent. I propose to call to the Áras at 2230 hours to see the president. Please inform the president. I will wait for his answer.”

It recorded that the president responded: “It is not appropriate for me to speak to you at the moment.”

The log also includes messages Brian Lenihan TD and Mr S. Barrett that they “wish to see the president on a private matter,” followed by several inquiries of whether their messages had been delivered.

Underneath this, the log reads: “Mrs Grace Brett (Kilkenny). She does NOT want another election. She wants a national government.”

Inquiries to some of the Bretts of County Kilkenny, however, could not identify exactly who she was. So the question remains: Who was Grace Brett?