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From “Criminal Adventurer” to “the Most Important Irishman of Our Time”: the Irish Times and Eamon de Valera, 1916-1973

Author(s): Jean Mercereau

Journal: Estudios Irlandeses : Journal of Irish Studies
ISSN 1699-311X

Issue: 6;
Start page: 70;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Eamon de Valera | Nationalism | Unionism | Irish newspapers | the Irish Times | Fianna Fáil

Founded in 1859 as the voice of the Protestant and Unionist Ascendancy of Dublin, the Irish Times has become, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the country’s most respected daily newspaper. As such, it has been a privileged observer of Eamon de Valera’s extraordinarily long career based on his vision of a Gaelic, rural, Catholic and independent Ireland. Because of theessential divergence in their ideals concerning the Irish nation, the Irish Times and de Valera can hardly be expected to have shared many affinities. Over the years, however, an analysis of the reactions and opinions expressed by the newspaper in its editorials reveals an evolution in its perception of the nationalist leader. After firmly denouncing de Valera’s part in the Civil War and hisattitude towards the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Times’ perception of de Valera changedprogressively once the leader was in power, particularly from the early 1950s onwards, as a result ofDe Valera’s attitude, combined with the newspaper’s own evolution, the changes taking place in thecountry and a feeling of disappointment with the pro-Treaty parties.
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