An enforced look back, with vivid and witty results: Full On, by Ivan Yates

Review: In his well-written book, the former minister shows he is a man of conviction

 Ivan Yates: irreverent, driven and witty. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ivan Yates: irreverent, driven and witty. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ivan Yates became a TD aged just 21, having been elected at 19 to Enniscorthy Urban District Council. He was minister for agriculture in his 30s, and went on after politics to set up a bookmaking business that, at its peak in 2008, had a turnover of €180 million. Initially in parallel with this business, he developed another successful career as a daily radio news show host, newspaper columnist and after-dinner speaker, a career that continues successfully to this day.

When I first heard that Ivan was about to publish an autobiography, I already knew he was a good writer. I had read the many policy documents he prepared when we were political colleagues. But I had a query in my mind as to how someone so relentlessly busy, so “full on” all the time, and so future-driven, would ever find the time to reflect on the past, to research and accurately date events, and then patiently to write it all down. Looking back never struck me as Ivan’s thing.

The answer to my query came early in the book. The time to write was imposed upon him.

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