Patrick Kavanagh and the Leader: The Poet, the Politician and the Libel Trial

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9781856356640: Patrick Kavanagh and the Leader: The Poet, the Politician and the Libel Trial
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In October 1952 'The Leader', a political and cultural magazine operating in Dublin, published an unsigned 'Profile' of the poet, Patrick Kavanagh, which he considered offensive. He sued 'The Leader' (and its printer) for damages. The case came to court in February 1954. Former Taoiseach John A. Costello appeared as lead barrister for the defence. The libel case became a public sensation, receiving extensive newspaper coverage at the time, with lengthy queues of spectators outside the court each day. Costello's detailed and masterful cross-examination of Kavanagh which went on over a number of days, fatally undermined Kavanagh's case. The jury found that Kavanagh had not been libelled. Kavanagh was both personally humiliated and financially devastated. On appeal the decision was later overturned but the damage to Kavanagh had been done...

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Review:

For those of a literary-cum-legal turn of mind, which accounts I suspect for 98% of the Irish nation, this is an ideal Summer entertainment. It was high time this episode was chronicled for itself, and Pat Walsh turns the tale very well. And the moral of it all: our libel laws need changing, not to protect people, but the truth. --Irish Catholic

As with Pat Walsh's first book, 'The Curious Case of the Mayo Librarian', which was very intersting, this is a great read. It provides a look at the case and it's key players. Pat Walsh offers a brief summary of Kavanagh's career... and puts meat on the bones of this chunk of Irish history. --Evening Echo

In a lesser writer's hands this could have become little more than series of court transcripts, but Walsh knows his onions as regards the backdrop to the whole shebang so the book falls into the rich tradition set by similar books about the time like Anthony Cronin's 'Dead as Doornails' or John Ryan's 'Remembering How we Stood'. --Books Ireland

About the Author:

Pat Walsh is a Librarian with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Library Service. Originally from Mayo, he now lives and works in Dun Laoghaire. He is the author of 'The Curious Case of The Mayo Librarian', published in 2009, which recievied widespread radio and print coverage, as well as being the basis for an RTE documentary in the Scannal series.

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Pat Walsh
Published by Mercier Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 1856356647 ISBN 13: 9781856356640
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