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Are characters in Shatter's steamy novel based on a former President and Ireland's first female judge?

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Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson President of the Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice pictured , during the opening ceremony of the Hunger, Nutrition  and Climate Justice conference in the Conference Hall, Dublin Castle as part of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, yesterday.

Pic Frank Mc Grath

Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson President of the Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice pictured , during the opening ceremony of the Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice conference in the Conference Hall, Dublin Castle as part of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, yesterday. Pic Frank Mc Grath

21/05/2013 Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, retir...21/05/2013 Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, retired judge of the Supreme Court at the Committee on Health and Children public hearing on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

21/05/2013 Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, retir...21/05/2013 Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, retired judge of the Supreme Court at the Committee on Health and Children public hearing on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Laura book cover



By Alan Shatter

Laura book cover By Alan Shatter

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Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson President of the Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice pictured , during the opening ceremony of the Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice conference in the Conference Hall, Dublin Castle as part of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, yesterday. Pic Frank Mc Grath

TWO of the female characters in Alan Shatter's raunchy novel were based on a retired judge and former president, it has been claimed.

The country's first female judge Catherine McGuinness has revealed that it was widely speculated that herself and Mary Robinson were the inspiration behind two of the legal eagles in Laura.

The 1989 novel by the Justice Minister is set to be republished and could be back on bookshelves within six weeks.

Ms McGuinness said: "I read it when it came out first, we all did especially those who practised family law.

PRACTITIONER

"Of course, Alan was a very prominent practitioner in family law and so we read the book and I probably have a copy of it at home.

"It was always said around the law library that two of the female barristers were supposed to be myself and Mary Robinson."

Once the book gets past the early sex scenes it develops into a legal battle over a child who is given up for adoption before the birth mother changes her mind.

However, Ms McGuinness laughed that the two female barristers didn't fare particularly well in the book and lost their cases.

"To be fair he [Alan] was a very skillful practitioner but we were inclined to have a laugh about the book and I'm sure when he looks back on it now he's probably having a good laugh at it himself, particularly the suggestion that he's going to make €100,000 out of it," she said.

The well-known ex-judge added that she felt the romantic scenes in the book were "mild enough, steamy at a sort of Mills and Boom level but it's not 50 Shades of Grey".

Mr Shatter is currently in negotiations with Poolbeg Press with a view to republishing the book – 24 years after it first hit shelves.

Discussions are ongoing as to whether the book will be reprinted using the same 1980s-style cover.

A spokesperson for Poolbeg said: "Hopefully it will be back in shops in about six weeks time."

The 244-page book originally sold for IR£4.99. It is now likely to be around €12.99. The novel was referred to the censorship office recently on the grounds it might be too "obscene" for an Irish audience.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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