Sunday 25 February 2018

Charlie Flanagan recalls his father Oliver, who 'refused to be silenced'

There was more to Oliver J Flanagan than saying "there was no sex in Ireland before television". He battled against corruption, hears Elaine Byrne

The Flanagan surname has flown the Laois-Offaly constituency colours for 70 years this spring. What, if anything, has changed about Irish political culture in all that time?

Immortalised in Christy Moore's song on Lisdoonvarna, Oliver J Flanagan is perhaps best remembered for telling RTE viewers in 1967 that "there was no sex in Ireland before television".

Ireland has changed utterly from the days when Flanagan raised objections in the Dail to page 198 of Patricia Corr's Anthology of Short Stories because the Intermediate Certificate English book contained the expression "Ah, for Christ's sake".

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