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26 Jan 2022

Limerick political history 'minute book' donated to National Library

Limerick political history 'minute book' donated to National Library

A photograph from the Limerick Leader of David O’Keeffe with John O’Sullivan and Breda McAuliffe in 1969

Donal O’Regandonal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

A MINUTE book of the Fine Gael Limerick East Constituency Executive, dating back half a century, has been donated to the archive at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.

It was gifted by Gráinne and Rachel, daughters of the late David O’Keeffe of the Bruff Branch. The minute book covers the decade 1971 – 1981.

Mr O’Keeffe was actively involved with the Fine Gael party throughout his lifetime and held officer positions at local branch and constituency level as well as a delegate to the National Council.

He was honorary secretary of the Fine Gael Limerick East Constituency Executive in the 1970s and held this minute book in safekeeping for the past 50 years.

Mr O’Keeffe always had a great interest in politics and history and his daughters were delighted when the National Library were interested in acquiring the minute book.

“He was passionate about Fine Gael and loved history and politics. He held the minute book in safekeeping for half a century and we know he would like this to be preserved for future generations.

“We are delighted the minute book will go to a safe home to be preserved in the right environment by professional archivists, and most importantly it will be accessible to the public into the future” they said.

Mr O’Keeffe passed away in February of this year. The number of people that came out to pay their respects, in a socially distanced manner, as the funeral cortege left his residence to go to Bruff RFC before continuing to St Patrick's and St Brigid's Church reflected his standing in the community.

The minutes recorded during 1971 – 1981 include discussions on a number of interesting local and national topics. Limerick East TD Tom O'Donnell, Minister for the Gaeltacht and MEP for Munster during that period attended most of the constituency executive meetings to brief constituency delegates on national issues and it makes interesting reading. 

Key national topics on the agenda in the early 1970s included the referendums on Accession to the European Communities and Voting Age Reduction from 21 to 18 years. Other topics from the time included the Northern crises, the problems facing the bacon industry in Limerick, American government seeking landing rights at Dublin Airport and impact on Shannon. 

Constituency executive meeting agendas focused on planning and organising for upcoming elections, canvassing, manning polling stations on polling day, planning church gate collections, the annual dinner dance at Cruises Hotel, the Árd Fhéis and setting up a youth branch in Limerick. 

And, of course, the fact that the Limerick East constituency no longer exists adds to their historical value.

The National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, is open, free of charge, to all those who wish to consult the collections. The catalogue is searchable online.

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