Ecumenical Enda shows Labour love

Taoiseach does the honours for Labour’s John Gilroy.

Taoiseach does the honours for Labour’s John Gilroy.


In a nice fraternal gesture towards a Labour Coalition colleague, the Taoiseach did the honours on Wednesday night at the launch of Senator John Gilroy’s murder mystery page- turner, A Cry in the Morning.

The Tánaiste, John’s party leader, was probably away on State business in some far-flung corner of the globe, what with him being Minister for Foreign Affairs and that.

Never mind, Enda was in terrific form, charming all the Labour people and making a huge fuss of the author’s mother, Nora. It was quite the ecumenical affair, with Taoiseach’s nominee to the Seanad Marie Louise O’Donnell performing a belting warm-up before the main act arrived in from his weekly parliamentary party meeting.

The book tells the fascinating true tale behind the murder of a Japanese servant near the Meath village of Athboy 100 years ago. It’s a cracking yarn, and one which Meathman Gilroy has been researching since 1997.

It’s the story of multimillionaire John Morgan Mordecai Jones – a Welsh coalminer who inherited a vast fortune at the age of 18 – and his Japanese servant Sanotic Koniste. After years of adventure and high-living in far-flung parts of the globe, Jones settled in the Clifton Estate outside Athboy where he drank himself to death at the age of 47. Three weeks later, his manservant, known locally as “The Jap”, was murdered.

Gilroy found his efforts to piece together the life of Sanotic Koniste dashed at almost every turn.

Civil wars, earthquakes, American bombing raids and volcanoes all conspired to erase his name from public records in Japan, the US, Africa and Ireland. However, with the help of friends from around the world who joined in the search, he managed to piece the story together.

Among the guests at the launch in Leinster House was horse trainer Simon Magnier, the current owner of Clifton House.

Earlier in the day, John’s fellow Senators took the opportunity to give his new book a plug.

Trinity’s Seán Barrett added his compliments. “We had another distinguished author in the House yesterday, Alan Shatter. They are both in the tradition of WB Yeats, so we are expecting Nobel prizes from both the Minister and Senator.”

Labour’s Lorraine Higgins joined in the chorus of congratulations. “I look forward to attending the event this evening and purchasing a copy, and to reading not only Fifty Shades of Shatter during my August holidays but also Senator Gilroy’s publication.”

By the way, travel update on the Tánaiste. He wasn’t abroad when his Senator’s book was being launched. He was a few yards away in the main restaurant, buying dinner for a group of TDs in order to keep them sweet and feel their pain.

Eamon Gilmore has been wining and dining his troops over the last couple of weeks. A different group each night.

There was no sign of Pat Rabbitte, and there’s nothing Pat likes better than a good book launch. Turns out he was otherwise detained, cornered next to the back snug in Doheny and Nesbitt’s by an unruly mob of anti-austerity protesters.