Debates feature in Laois author’s book

LOCAL author John Drennan has just published ‘Standing by the Republic , a compilation of fifty of the most important Dail debates in the state since 1948’.

The book which has already been launched in Dublin, will be officially launched this Thursday November 9 in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, when featured speakers Mary O’ Rourke, Jack Carter, Fergal Tobin will join in a debate alongside John. The debate is entitled “Found Guilty By History? Now that Paddy knows the story, how do we re-build the Republic?” This takes place from 8pm and all are welcome.

Speaking to the Leinster Express the author said: ‘‘Brian Cowen once famously said we are where we are. Standing by the Republic attempts to chronicle how we have got there’’.

Some of the key debates covered include Sean Lemass becomes Taoiseach on June 23 1959; the Mother and Child Debate; the most dramatic debate was probably between Garrett Fitzgerald and Charles Haughey in which Fitzgerald warned of Haughey’s ‘flawed pedigree’ – December 11 1979.

The Arms trial debate which caused Haughey’s first fall from grace (Liam Cosgrave speech, May 8 1970); the banking bail-out on September 30 2008 which signalled the beginning of the end of the Republic Declan Costello had declared in 1948; and the IMF bail-out November 23rd 2010

The election of Brian Cowen as Taoiseach and his dramatic fall is also featured. One of the central characters in the book is Oliver J Flanagan the famous Laois Offaly TD whose impact on the Dail over four decades was greater than many Ministers.

Included in the debates is a famous exchange between Flanagan and Donagh O’Malley over Flanagan’s claim that the short story the Trout was sexually suggestive.

This brief extract quotes O’Malley on the issue. “If these ideas which the Deputy is putting into Irish minds, which no doubt as on the last occasion will be widely published in tomorrow’s papers, are all he can find in Sean O’Faoilain’s ‘The Trout’ which has been described also as the finest short story of O’Faoilain, then I can only say God help us”.

‘Standing by the Republic - 50 Dail Debates that Shaped the Nation’, published by Gill&Macmillan is available now.


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