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21 February 2008 Edition

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Fascinating picture of Laois's contribution to the struggle


BOOK REVIEW
The Palm of Honour:
An introduction to the history of Sinn Féin in County Laois

By Gerry Quinn
Published by
Laois Sinn Féin
Price €10

REVIEWED BY
SORCHA BERRY
 
EACH chapter of Gerry Quinn’s book, The Palm of Honour, explores a different aspect of republican history in County Laois from the last hundred years. The book contains many interesting black and white pictures as well as political cartoons.
The book looks initially at life in Ireland before the foundation of Sinn Féin, giving a detailed account of the life of James Fintan Lalor, born in Laois, who James Connolly and Padraig Pearse viewed as “the father of socialist republicanism”. It tells of Lalor’s great contribution to Irish republicanism during the time of the Famine and gives a brief history of the foundation of the Fenians.
Quinn goes on to examine the early years of Sinn Féin, not just in Laois but throughout the country, describing how the party’s stance evolved throughout the years as British policy became more brutal towards Irish revolutionaries. He details how republican support increased in Laois, particularly after events like the 1916 Rising and the passing of the third Home Rule Bill. A chapter each is devoted to the 1918 general election and the First Dáil.
The last two chapters in the book deal with the period from the Border Campaign of 1956-62 to the Peace Process. Gerry Quinn reveals the harsh realities of life and the sacrifices endured by republican men and women in the cause of freedom and describes the official blind eye that was turned to the injustices and brutality of unionist rule.
The Palm of Honour is a book that will be enjoyed more by the committed republican or those who have an interest in Ireland’s republican past rather than the casual nationalist observer. While it deals primarily with republican political history in Laois it does not remain specific to that county.
Containing many interesting black and white pictures as well as political cartoons, the book is a slim volume yet filled to the brim with important dates and facts.
Gerry Quinn wanted to “identify main strands which can be traced from the party’s historical background through to the present time”. This he does admirably, painting a fascinating picture of how Laois has contributed the republican cause over the past century.
 

Senator launches Laois book

A LARGE crowd turned up at Portlaoise Parish Centre for the launch of The Palm of Honour by Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty and the former Mayor of Portlaoise, Councillor Brian Stanley.
Author Gerry Quinn, a teacher in Rathdowney, said:
“There is no shroud of academic objectivity. It is written from a republican perspective but the conclusions are rooted in historical evidence.”
Gerry dedicated his book to the memory of lifelong republican activist Jim Hyland, who died last year.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

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