• -
  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 23, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    Political Stocking-fillers

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Political wonks, nerds and anoraks have an embarrassment of riches to choose from this Christmas in terms of books on the economic crisis and other related matters.

    Can I put in a mention for two  beautifully-written memoirs with strong political content by former colleagues on this newspaper, James Downey (In My Own Time, Gill and Macmillan) and Dennis Kennedy (Square Peg, Nonsuch Publishing).

    Both were – and Downey still is – covering politics at home and abroad for many years and their respective volumes provide a remarkable insight into the Irish scene, Anglo-Irish relations, EU matters, office politics at the paper and other, more personal topics.

    Downey’s recollections of growing up in Leitrim under the shadow of mass emigration are  searing at times and deserve to be expanded into a second book - I have told him that myself. Kennedy came from a Northern Protestant background, which gave him a unique perspective on society in the Republic.

    For more recent politics, there is, of course, Pat Leahy’s Showtime which has won universal praise. Then there’s Fintan O’Toole’s insightful Ship of Fools not to mention other very impressive books by Shane Ross (The Bankers), Matt Cooper (Who Really Runs Ireland), David Murphy and Martina Devlin (Banksters), Jim Power (Picking up the Pieces), David McWilliams (Follow the Money), to name but a few.

    Kevin Rafter has a very interesting book out on Fine Gael – potentially the main ruling party after the next election (Fine Gael: Party at the Crossroads). Anyone trying to understand Bertie Ahern’s finances and the political ramifications thereof should read Michael Clifford and Shane Coleman’s The Drumcondra Mafia. Secrecy of another kind is explored in Brian Hanley and Scott Millar’s The Lost Revolution, a remarkable history of the Workers’ Party and the Official IRA.

    Good luck with the last-minute shopping and Nollaig faoi shéan daoibh go léir (Happy Christmas to you all.)

    • p.richards says:

      I must get this book. I grew up in Roscommon where emigration peaked in terms of numbers in the 60′s and 70′s. I too emigrated in late 60′s, to ply my intellectual skills. I was and am very lucky. I held a very senior post for a number of years and am now retired.
      I am unable to describe the amount of misery among the emigrant Irish that I have seen. Given the choice I would have stayed in Ireland. & now I seethe with anger when I hear the press in Ireland describing the budget as an emigration budget. Cowen attempting to get 3000 visas for the US.
      It’s the only European Nation that has to resort to mass emigration. Why, after over 80years of republicanism is Ireland dependant on foreign countries to feed their people? It’s not just this year, what about the 30′s 40′s 50′s 60′s & 70′s. And yet we have a government, where the head earns more than the president of USA, we have a president who earns like wise. Total reform of the system and its politicians needs to be undertaken

    • p.richards says:

      Where is my comment?

    • Deaglán says:

      Comments on this blog have to be “moderated”, i.e., read with considerations of defamation and taste in mind. We do that when we get a chance – both of us have fulltime jobs to do! Sorry for the delay and thanks for a very interesting comment.

    • Pomme de Pratai says:

      Moderation apart you’d barely have had time to read it before the chase-up message was received!…Hope your stocking-fillers were all you’d hoped for…!

    • steve white says:

      a comment received and in moderation message would help

    • kynos says:

      Reckon you can take it as read steve white. And on the record. Whether it ever sees the light of day or not. That and recalling what a tangled web we weave when first we PRaCtice 2 deceive makes for good consistent honest bloggers. They’re what gets posted. And the cranks. Up to yourself to work out which u are ;)

    • John Chicago says:

      Many fine scribes, journalists and media commentators gave ample warning of the impending economic disaster which has overtaken Ireland. Its a shame that we confuse defining a problem with doing something about it. Canada and Australia are doing fine and thats where Irelands brightest will be going for many years to come. What do you say to the people who accepted Irelands invitation to come home and are now forced to leave again. Can someone explain where and when Holy Ireland lost its moral compass, we continue to elect and lionize rotten politicians, bankers and priests.

Search Politics