A Fine Gael – Fianna Fáil Coalition?

The Irish Times is reporting this morning that Fianna Fáil might be set to vote on the prospect of coalition with Fine Gael at their upcoming Ard Fheis. Though Fine Gael is, to borrow the expression used by the newspaper, ‘the old enemy’, the notion of an alliance between the two is not unheard of. NorContinue reading “A Fine Gael – Fianna Fáil Coalition?”

The Root of Ireland’s Abortion Problem

Abortion is once again in the news in Ireland. Clare Daly’s latest attempt to introduce legislation reforming the laws on abortion in Ireland has failed. The Independent Socialist TD tabled a bill that would permit the termination of a pregnancy where a fatal foetal abnormality had been detected. It was defeated yesterday by 104 votesContinue reading “The Root of Ireland’s Abortion Problem”

Speaking at The Collins Institute & The Just Republic Launch

I was back in Dublin earlier this week to speak at the public launch of The Collins Institute, a new think tank set up with financial support from Fine Gael but ultimately independent of the party – a point made clear by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Institute Chair Marian Coy. The purpose of theContinue reading “Speaking at The Collins Institute & The Just Republic Launch”

Locating Men in Abortion Narratives

How do we locate men in abortion narratives? With our Perceptions of Pregnancy conference just around the corner, Jennifer Evans and I have been keeping an eye on newspapers for stories relating to pregnancy. This story from The Guardian caught our attention: Ohio’s state assembly has tabled a bill that, if passed into law, would give fathersContinue reading “Locating Men in Abortion Narratives”

Virginity, Chastity and Purity: Defining Women Past and Present

I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘unmarried mothers’* recently: I gave a paper on perceptions of these women in Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century to the University of Hertfordshire’s History Lab, and I’m currently reviewing Pat Thane’s and Tanya Evans’s Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth Century England. Virginity, chastity, purityContinue reading “Virginity, Chastity and Purity: Defining Women Past and Present”

Gerry Adams & Boston College: A Fresh Challenge for Oral History

‘Don’t do a Duffy on me’, a senior politician once remarked when I interviewed him for my research. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard such a quip.  And while it was meant as a joke, the very fact that the remark was even passed — more than two decades after the event — was revealing.Continue reading “Gerry Adams & Boston College: A Fresh Challenge for Oral History”

Ballymagash & the Fall of the Fine Gael-Labour Government, 1977

A variation of this post first appeared on TheJournal.ie,  31 December 2013 With advanced publicity for Oliver Callan’s New Year’s Eve special promising sketches that would sail close to the wind in their depiction of President Michael D. Higgins and his aide Kevin McCarthy, RTÉ reportedly asked that the satirist tone down his portrayal of  the PresidentContinue reading “Ballymagash & the Fall of the Fine Gael-Labour Government, 1977”

Column: Past Concerns Over Ireland’s Abortion Laws Foreshadowed Today’s Reality

On Saturday 2 November, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Britain’s largest provider of abortion services) placed the above advertisement in Irish newspapers.  Yesterday (6 November 2013), I contributed a column to TheJournal.ie setting the issue of Irish abortion in its historical context:

Historians: Who do We Think They Are?

Do we need to know? A specialism in a particular area of history is a funny old thing. Certain fields appear to exempt the researcher from any potential accusations of vested interest, while others appear to invite the observation that the author must be a sympathiser. I am now the author of two books onContinue reading “Historians: Who do We Think They Are?”

The Dagenham Women, Equal Pay and Women’s Rights

I’ve just spent a wonderfully entertaining afternoon in the presence of Vera Sime, Eileen Pullen, Gwen Davies and Sheila Douglas — the women who inspired the 2010 film Made in Dagenham (of which they remarked, the basic story was there, but it was dressed up a bit).  The Business School at the University of Hertfordshire organised theContinue reading “The Dagenham Women, Equal Pay and Women’s Rights”

Enda Kenny, Garret FitzGerald and Personal Initiatives in Politics

‘Every vote counts’ was one of the key themes that emerged out of the weekend’s coverage of the Seanad referendum.  Emphasising the closeness of the result, reference was made on more than one occasion to the 10,000 votes that separated Eamon de Valera from his Fine Gael rival at the 1966 presidential election.  I couldn’tContinue reading “Enda Kenny, Garret FitzGerald and Personal Initiatives in Politics”

Political Posters and Voter Engagement

I’m on a flying visit to Dublin this weekend to attend the Magdalene Laundries symposium this Saturday at Liberty Hall — hopefully more on that in a forthcoming post.  If I’d managed to escape the Seanad referendum living in England (I haven’t), I was promptly reminded that a campaign is underway by the proliferation of postersContinue reading “Political Posters and Voter Engagement”

A Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil Reconciliation? A 1927 Proposal

Many thanks to the William Carleton Society for permission to use this footage. Further details on the Society are available from http://www.williamcarletonsociety.org Speaking at the William Carleton Summer School this week, Mary O’Rourke advocated that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael bridge the political divide between them and give serious thought to coming together in a political coalition come theContinue reading “A Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil Reconciliation? A 1927 Proposal”

Why study history? Ciaran Brady responds to Ruairi Quinn.

As a professional academic historian I am, of course, biased.  But because of my role I not only understand the importance of knowing our history, but also I am keenly aware of the skills — most notably critical thinking and analysis — that the study of the subject can impart on the student.  These areContinue reading “Why study history? Ciaran Brady responds to Ruairi Quinn.”

Lost Leader, Neglected Leader: Michael Collins and WT Cosgrave

Much of Fine Gael’s past is now of the stuff of history.  Fine Gael is content to leave it … to the ultimate judgement of the historian. I was reminded of this quote from an off-the-peg election speech from 1954 while reading Stephen Collins’ Irish Times column about the annual Parnell summer school, which starts onContinue reading “Lost Leader, Neglected Leader: Michael Collins and WT Cosgrave”

Convening the Council of State: a Look Back Over 73 Years (Media Contributions)

  Yesterday, Michael D Higgins convened the first meeting of the Council of State of his presidency.  The members — with the exception of Mary Robinson, John Bruton and Albert Reynolds who sent their apologies — were called together to discuss the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, 2013.  It was the twenty-seventh time inContinue reading “Convening the Council of State: a Look Back Over 73 Years (Media Contributions)”