Presentation to Batt O’Keeffe TD

The Aubane Historical Society (AHS) organised a local launch of its latest publication and presented a copy to Minister of State, Batt O’Keeffe TD. It is called “Fianna Fail and the decline of the Free State” by Brendan Clifford and is dedicated to Jack Roche.

Jack Lane of the AHS welcomed all and apologised for the short notice. He explained the background to the publication and that it was a continuation of the story published by the AHS in Sean Moylan’s memoir and dealt with developments after the war over the Treaty and the coming to power of the first Fianna Fail government.

He was pleased to have a Government Minister present because the Government’s decision to open the Bureau of Military History archive and their decision to also make available the records of the successful applications for War of Independence pensions should be acknowledged. This involves making available tens of thousands of invaluable documents – primary sources of information. This was a great contribution to the study of Irish history. Disputes and disagreements are inevitable but all should accept that maximum information is the key to a proper understanding of our history. The essential requirement for settling disputes and disagreements is very simple – let’s have all the facts. The Government have helped greatly in this.

It was dedicated to Jack Roche in recognition of the great work he was doing for all aspects of Irish culture and history, locally and nationally. He had been a supporter of the AHS’s work for many years and helped ensure its successful publishing efforts in the early years through the support of IRD Duhallow.

Jack Roche said it was a most worthwhile publication and dealt with a contentious period in our history which has been by and large ignored. He discovered quite a lot that was new to him. He emphasised the lack of history as a subject in our current education curriculum. This was deplorable and he hoped it would be rectified. The work of the AHS was filling a vacuum.

Batt O’Keeffe recalled his previous visit to the Aubane Community Centre about two years ago when he discussed the tourist potential of the area and the development of the Butter Road. He was glad to see the recent improvements in the road.

It was very appropriate to dedicate this book to Jack Roche who personifies all that contributes to a vibrant rural society. He embodies the spirit of those who fought for our freedom in his idealism and the practical projects he has initiated in a variety of areas.

He liked the way that the AHS had recorded local history and also put it in a national context. The material was sometimes challenging and controversial but independent thinking was very important when it comes to the study of history. This latest book dealt with a period that he was particularly interested in.

He noted the strong tendency of immigration in the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years and he saw the challenges of creating strong communities.

“One of the means by which our new citizens can become part of us is to share with them our own history, our own unique stories from our own unique places” he said.

It is unfortunate and regrettable that the men and women of the Independence struggle are sometimes denigrated today. A publication like this helps to set the record straight by showing the difficult – almost impossible – choices they all had to face and it thereby tries to be fair to all concerned.

*“Fianna Fail and the decline of the Free State” by Brendan Clifford published by the Aubane Historical Society is available at Liam Russell’s in Cork, Wordsworth’s in Millstreet, Philips in Mallow, Kanturk Bookshop and Macroom Bookshop.

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