We are delighted to reissue ‘They have fooled you again: Michael O’Flanagan (1876 - 1942) Priest, republican, Social Critic’ by the late Denis Carroll. We felt that the book’s message has been given a new energy in light of the 1916 Centenary. It represents a small but important attempt to capture the contribution of one controversial church man to that period of Irish history.
When Fr Michael O’Flanagan died, The Standard wrote of him: ‘Like Pearse he was a student and teacher with thought and sympathy for youth; like Thomas Clarke he seemed in his person to typify the spirit of resistance to oppression; like James Connolly he loved the people who work in poverty.’ In a conservative Ireland, O’Flanagan consistently worked for social justice, civic honesty and political democracy. A priest of the Diocese of Elphin, he raised issues of land distribution, national independence and cultural renewal. Inevitably, he attracted hostility in church and state. Suspended from his ministry in summer 1918, he nonetheless persevered in his republican and populist ideals.
Vice-President of Sinn Féin from 1917, Fr O’Flanagan deployed his communication skills to maximum effect during the general election of 1918. In 1921 he opposed eh Anglo-Irish Treaty. In 1933 he became President of Sinn Féin. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Fr O’Flanagan sided with the republican-socialist government of Spain. At home he joined Peadar O’Donnell, George Gilmore and Frank Ryan in resistance to the emergence of Fascism. The wry comment attributed to him by Peadar O’Donnell - ‘They have fooled you again’ - aptly reflects O’Flanagan’s somewhat jaundiced view of the established leaders at home and abroad.
The author, Denis Carroll, passed away in 2007. He was a man of many gifts: a noted theologian, historian, scholar, writer and social activist.
In the early 1970s Denis was a founding member of the Association of Irish Priests. He was a leading light in the Irish Theological Association and a lecturer at Clonliffe College, Mater Dei Institute and Trinity College Dublin.
He took an active part in campaigns to support the people of Central and Latin America, the Philippines and South Africa. In the pulpit, in public forums and in his writing he frequently drew attention to the injustices which caused the continuing violence in Ireland, to the plight of prisoners, and of Travellers in our society.
He wrote several books including; Towards a Story of the Earth (1987), The Man from God Knows Where (1995) Unusual Suspects (1998) and he also produced a booklet entitled ‘Dublin in 1798: Three Illustrated Walks’. He is survived by his wife Orla.
You can order the book now directly from here.