LABOUR stalwarts gathered in Dublin for the launch of former political colleague Liz McManus's new novel, A Shadow in the Yard.
The former TD's latest book is set in north Donegal in the 1970s and is something of a dark family tale which is impacted by the Northern Ireland troubles of that era.
Former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte, presided at last night's event and his speech went down a storm with the partisan audience.
"I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help," Mr Rabbitte quipped as he began proceedings.
The Tallaght-based TD surveyed the attendance in the room and joked that his best move "would be to guarantee you that the free travel will continue." He also recalled that Ms McManus's arrival as a TD in Leinster House in November 1992 coincided with the departure of former Fianna Fail leader and Taoiseach Charlie Haughey.
He regaled the audience with some well-chosen anecdotes about Haughey. But he also paid warm tribute to Ms McManus, his former colleague in the Workers' Party, Democratic Left and eventually the Labour Party.
Ms McManus was junior housing minister during the Rainbow Coalition of 1994-1997.
After Democratic Left merged with Labour in 1999 she was deputy leader of Labour and for a time caretaker party leader.
Mr Rabbitte marvelled at the versatility Ms McManus had since shown as a writer.
He also drew a jocose comparison with the legendary American novelist Harper Lee, whose new book is now being published after the success of To Kill A Mocking Bird in 1960.
"The first time that I saw this book, it occurred to me that Wicklow had produced its own Harper Lee - it's 25 years since her last book," Mr Rabbitte said.
Political colleagues in attendance included Proinsias De Rossa, Alex White, Kathleen Lynch, and Joan Burton.
Journalist Nell McCafferty, writer, Paul Murray, and poet and TCD academic, Gerald Dawe, were also there.
It was also a family affair with the attendance of her son. Luke, his partner, Elizabeth, and their 11-month son, Danny. Her daughter Emily was also there as was her niece, Kate Horgan.
Liz McManus was a TD for Wicklow from 1992 until 2011 when she quit party politics to devote her time to writing.
Her first novel, Acts of Subversion, was published in 1992 and was shortlisted for several awards.