Thatcher influenced Gilmore


FORMER BRITISH prime minister Margaret Thatcher and public servant TK Whitaker were among those who influenced Eamon Gilmore, according to his new book.

Leading Lights: People Who’ve Inspired Mewas written by the Labour Party leader in collaboration with Yseult Thornley and was launched last night.

Each chapter deals with a person who has had an influence on him and ranges from grandmother Ellen Gilmore and colleague Proinsias De Rossa to activist Martin Luther King and playwright Seán O’Casey.

This format was a vehicle for talking about himself and what makes him tick, Mr Gilmore said. It was not unusual in other countries for politicians to write a book, particularly one seeking national office, he said.

Naming Mrs Thatcher seems “counter-intuitive” but he explains in the book that he picked her because “she is there for all time to remind socialists and democrats what they are against”, Ms Thornley said.

Mr Whitaker was chosen because he shaped Mr Gilmore’s view on the public service. “He holds him up as a true exponent of joined-up thinking”, Ms Thornley said.

Mr Whitaker was at the event last night as Mr Gilmore explained how the former civil servant helped to turn a depressed Ireland of the 1950s into the modern society it became.