Launch of Crummey v Ireland in Griffith College

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(All the photographs below were taken by Damien Maddock (DM Prints) at the launch of Crummey v Ireland on 9 March 2010.)

First there were the crowds, hundreds and hundreds of old friends, fellow-agitators and campaigners, solicitors, barristers and judges, family and relatives. Many arrived early to get a good view of Frank in his A-Z Hire wheelchair (must be the HSE cutbacks). They stormed the table where the books were being sold and bought multiple copies: threes, fives and tens. Although Frank had taken the precaution of signing a few score books in advance from his hospital bed, he was put to the pin of his collar to keep up with demand.

Frank signs books at the launch of Crummey v Ireland with Londubh Books's David and Hugh busy selling books in the background. Fionnuala and Jane were there too, somewhere.

Frank signs more and more copies for friends and admirers

Frank signs yet more books

Frank’s Women

The arrival of some important women in Frank’s life, notably Margaret Gaj, Anne Connolly, Nell McCafferty and Pat O’Donovan caused a stir (see below for some lovely pics) and also of official launcher Mary Banotti, who must be the most photogenic ex-MEP in town! Frank was thrilled to see his assistant writer, Anne Stopper, who had flown in from Maryland and who spoke during the formal proceedings.

Margaret Gaj of Gaj's Restaurant

Frank gives the thumbs-up to Nell McCafferty

Kathy Moore, Manager of Rathmines Women's Refuge

Mary Banotti and Jane Crummey

Margaret Gaj and Nell McCafferty

Margaret Gaj and Mary Banotti

Nell McCafferty

Mary Banotti

The Speeches

The affection and admiration of all the speakers for Frank was evident in what they said: Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College, based part of his evaluation of Frank’s life on the Beatitudes (and who knows, Frank may be beatified or even canonised in another world). Katy Moore of Rathmines Women’s Refuge spoke movingly of the ways, legal and otherwise, in which Frank helped some of the women who stayed in the Refuge and of the great crack she and Frank had along the way. Mary Banotti, who performed the official launch, was undaunted by having been preceded by so many other Frank-admirers and produced a totally original version of the man, mentioning that she had known him since she and the late Nuala Fennell established the first Women’s Aid in Harcourt St, a house that always, in her memory, had a Dyno-Rod drain-clearing truck parked outside it.

Londubh publisher, Jo O'Donoghue, speaks at the launch

Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College, speaks at the launch

Anne Stopper, co-author of Crummey v Ireland, speaks at the launch

Kathy Moore of Rathmines Women's Refuge speaks at the launch

Mary Banotti officially launches Crummey v Ireland

Frank’s Own Speech

Finally Elizabeth Crummey stood up to read Frank’s speech, dictated by the man himself and typed up by his son-in-law Mick Brophy, with first of all her own description of the highly ‘abnormal’ (but happy) childhood enjoyed by all the Crummey children because of their father’s campaigning activities. Although Elizabeth read, Frank’s voice could be heard saying the words, and Elizabeth was not the only one moved to tears at the end.

Elizabeth Crummey delivers Frank's speech

Frank and Evelyn

Throughout the speeches Frank sat beside Evelyn, who occastionally touched his hand. Although he claimed later on that he loved nothing better than to hear himself praised, it must have been an overwhelming experience all the same, especially for someone not in the whole of his health. Finally the family presented a bouquet to Evelyn for, as Frank would say himself, ‘putting up with him’ for almost fifty years, since they married in 1961. See below for some of the fruits of their life together: five children and ten beautiful grandchildren!

Evelyn receives a bouquet of appreciation from her family

Frank and Evelyn Crummey with, from left, Deirdre, Jane, Frank, Edel and Elizabeth

Frank and Evelyn Crummey with their ten grandchildren

It was a fantastic launch, one of the best ever. Everything was perfect: the food, the wine, the grandchildren big and small, the speakers, the venue (as vast as a basketball arena and ever inch of it needed). The booksellers were almost as run off their feet as Frank’s signing hand was worn out, but if there’s anyone who still hasn’t got their copy in the past it will arrive as soon as Frank can sign it and An Post can deliver it.

Míle buíochas to everyone (I was never in the LFM)..

Speaking of which: former members of the LFM/Reform below

Mystery Solved: from left: Finbarr Corry, Martin Reynolds and Richard Clear

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