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John Bruton – Faith In Politics, A Review

John Bruton

The time during which John Bruton presided over this country was a tumultuous one and he garnered popularity with many of the people of Ireland for various reasons. None so prevalent as the establishment of the criminal assets bureau in the wake of the tragic death of journalist Veronica Geurin.
While this certainly secured his place in the hearts of many, it would be the progression of the Northern Irish peace process and his arduous efforts to strengthen Anglo-Irish relations that would define his tenure as Taoiseach.
Known for his controversial alignment with the political traditions of the Irish Parliamentary Party, John Bruton was decidedly different from most Irish leaders before him.
Since leaving office in 1997 John Bruton has had a full and varied political career, putting him in good stead to pen the various speeches, articles, blogs and interestingly, book reviews that appear in ‘Faith In Politics’.
The book is essentially the collected public musings of the former Taoiseach. He touches on everything from world affairs to religion and each is presented as relatively short essay style chapters.
Many of the essays or articles in the book will give you pause for thought. His unflinching commentary on what he sees as the “mistakenly romanticised” centenary commemorations are sure to come under fire from many Irish republicans. However, the section on the environment is very informative. He offers very
innovative and creative solutions to real current global issues such as globalisation and urbanisation.
The section where he presents his book reviews is interesting although perhaps a little out of place, but it does serve as a good seguel to the two final chapters, ‘world politics’ and ‘religion’. As he says himself in a previous chapter, “Some say religion and politics shouldn’t mix”, perhaps this is why the chapter on religion is kept until last. Set apart, perhaps suggesting that his own religious beliefs, while very much a part of who he is, always remained separate from his politics.
We see a man of faith through the pages of this book. Faith not only in his spiritual leanings but in his country and in old traditions of peace over violence.
Whether or not you were a fan of his governance, ‘Faith In Politics’ will no doubt be an interesting read to anyone interested in Irish political thought, debate and history. It is brave and insightful and at times even poignant and offers an alternative view point for some pivotal moments in Irish history.