Posts Tagged ‘Irish politics’

On first looking into Bertie’s autobiography

30 November 2009

Contributed by Myles Dungan

The late Enoch Powell wasn’t right about much but he was unerringly accurate when he pointed out that ‘all political lives end in failure’ – including his own.

Take the case, for example, of a man who led the Irish people, unchallenged by anything other than a barely audible dissenting murmur for just over a decade.  He took his party to three consecutive electoral victories and was that political rarity, a sea green indispensable.

Often a stumbling and unconvincing public speaker, despite his undisputed political authority, when his name became associated with a potentially career ending scandal he promised his party and his people that his reputation would be vindicated once he finally had his day in court. He got a massive ‘dig out’ from citizens who were concerned at the state of his finances. He was accused of pocketing funds and turning them to his own use. And when he signally failed to justify his actions before a tribunal, the people who had lionised him for a decade, at first, didn’t seem unduly perturbed. It was only when his political allies turned on him spectacularly that he was finally jettisoned.

Familiar? Undoubtedly.  While the details outlined may resonate with the biography of one of our more recent chieftains the politician in question here is the Wicklow patrician, Charles Stewart Parnell rather than the Northside populist. Read More

Book Rally

11 September 2009

Lost Revolution 2

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Last night as I left the launch of Brian Hanley and Scott Millar’s The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party at the Teachers’ Club on Parnell Square in Dublin, making my way past the queue of autograph hunters and photographers, I caught the eye of an academic colleague near the door. ‘There’s a smell of revolution in that room’, she said. The speeches had ended, the free bar had run its course (no, that’s not why I left), and South Dublin Union was gearing up to provide the heart-rousing tunes. ‘A typical academic book launch’, another colleague remarked, tongue firmly in cheek, as he pointed to the backs of former party activists and ‘lost’ revolutionaries. ‘You see that bald man in the blue jumper in the second row? He was…’

I recognised a handful of faces, half-remembered the names of others. The rest passed me by, but they all knew each other. ‘I can see a number of left wing groups represented here’, Millar told the audience, ‘my family, my friends…’ Tomás Mac Giolla was plagued for photos and autographs beside the door, Mick Ryan’s face was hidden somewhere in the crowd, and Roy Johnston sat in the front row. In his opening remarks, Diarmaid Ferriter described the atmosphere in the packed hall as something akin to an election rally. Read More