De Valera, Fianna Fail and the Irish Press: The Truth in the News
A major book covering one of the more colorful episodes in recent Irish political history: the rise and fall of the Irish Press is explored here for the first time since the demise of Ireland’s popular national newspaper in the 1990.
The author looks at the role played by the Irish Press in building and sustaining the Fianna Fáil party and its polices from foundation of the state to the present day. He sets out for the first time the financial affairs of the paper, and looks at the relationship between the shareholders, the de Valera family and the ultimate ownership and control of the paper.
The relationship between the Fianna Fáil party and the Irish Press, both founded by Eamon de Valera in an era of political revolution, has been much misunderstood. Blamed for causing the bitter civil war and isolated in its aftermath by the political establishment, de Valera took what seemed the only course of action and founded his own political party and newspaper.
In the aftermath of independence, nation building began with both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael competing to influence the process as much as possible. The Irish Press gave voice to de Valera’s vision for Ireland and Irishness, and defended it from its detractors, namely the Fine Gael party, providing him with a means to counter hostility in the media, orchestrated particularly by the Irish Independent and the Irish Times.
The author gives a fascinating view of the war of words between the two papers, their fight for rural readership and the role of Irish Press in bringing Fianna Fáil to power. He explores the possibility of the Irish Press being de Valera, rather than, party-dominated and analyses the gradual disintegration of the relationship between the party and the paper as the de Valera family found itself gradually alienated from the paper’s readers, a modernising Ireland and a changing Fianna Fáil party.
About the Author:
Mark O’Brien received his PhD from NUI Maynooth where he currently teaches. He has received the NUI prize for first book with this publication.