State Papers

Patrick Kavanagh's efforts to promote controversial book prompted Garda probe

Monaghan-born poet Patrick Kavanagh

GARDAÍ launched an investigation after claims that renowned poet Patrick Kavanagh was taking unusual steps to promote one of his books, according to an 80-year-old file released by the Republic's Department of Justice.

The file reveals that an investigation was opened after the poet called at several Dublin book shops, demanding that his loosely autobiographical 1938 novel The Green Fool was displayed in the front window.

The manager of Fred Hanna's on Nassau Street told a detective sergeant that he was not afraid of Mr Kavanagh but feared the poet might cause damage.

He claimed Monaghan-born Kavanagh said: "You have 15 minutes to put my book in the window. This is an ultimatum."

The manager of the Grafton Book Shop told a similar story, relaying to gardaí how he told Kavanagh that it would be an impossible state of affairs if every Irish author came round and threatened him into stocking their books.

The investigation began after it was brought to the attention of gardaí by a priest who believed the The Green Fool was somewhat anti-Catholic in tone.

Fr Senan of Church Street in Dublin also suggested the Department of Justice should consider using the Censorship of Publications Act in this case.

The garda leading the probe concluded his report saying that he had made inquiries as to Kavanagh's present address but had not been able to ascertain it.

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State Papers

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