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Timothy Patrick "Tim Pat" Coogan (born 22 April 1935) is an Irish writer, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He served as editor of The Irish Press newspaper from 1968-87. He has been best-known for such books as The IRA, Ireland Since the Rising, On the Blanket, and biographies of Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera. His biography of de Valera proved controversial, taking issue with the former Irish president's reputation and achievements, in favour of those of Collins, whom he regards as indispensable to the creation of the new State.
In 2000, Irish writer and editor Ruth Dudley Edwards was awarded £25,000 damages and a public apology by the High Court in London against Coogan for factual errors in references to her in his book Wherever Green is Worn: the Story of the Irish Diaspora.
When TaoiseachEnda Kenny caused confusion following a speech at Béal na Bláth by incorrectly claiming Michael Collins had brought Lenin to Ireland, Coogan commented: "Those were the days when bishops were bishops and Lenin was a communist. How would that [Collins bringing Lenin to Ireland] have gone down with the churchyard collections?"
In November 2012, the United States embassy in Dublin refused to grant Coogan a visa to visit the U.S.[why?] As a result a planned book tour for his latest book (The Famine Plot, England's role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy) was cancelled. After representations to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by United States Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Congressman Peter T. King (R-NY), Coogan received his visa.
Comments on 90th Anniversary of Easter Rising
Writing in the an April 2006 edition of the New York-based Irish Voice (page 11, in an excerpt titled The Lessons of 1916), Coogan wrote:
Questions like [sic] should 1916 be commemorated? Should there be a military parade? These questions are in reality irritating diversionary tactics utilized by those whose real mental posture is the colonial cringe and whose political philosophy is crypto unionism. ... The basic importance of 1916 is that it formed a substantive, motivating role in the securing of independence, one of the three great turning points of Ireland in the 20th century ... [w]ithout the foregoing the Republic today would be on the same handout level as the six counties, and to a lesser degree Scotland and Wales.
Coogan has been criticised by Irish historians Liam Kennedy and Diarmaid Ferriter, Cormac Ó Gráda, among others, for a supposed lack of thoroughness in his research and bias:
"Well, I waited in this book to hear some great revelation and it just isn't there. It's anticlimactic. I could not see the great plot, and indeed there is no serious historian who ... I can't think of a single historian who has researched the Famine in depth - and Tim Pat has not researched it in depth" (The Famine Plot).
"Coogan is not remotely interested in looking at what others have written on 20th-century Irish history. ... he does not appear interested in context and shows scant regard for evidence. He does not attempt to offer any sustained analysis in relation to the challenges of state building, the meaning of sovereignty, economic and cultural transformations, or comparative perspectives on the evolution of Irish society. There is no indication whatsoever that Coogan has engaged with the abundant archival material relating to the subject matter he pronounces on. There is no rhyme or reason when it comes to the citation of the many quotations he uses; the vast majority are not referenced. For the 300-page text, 21 endnotes are cited and six of them relate to Coogan's previous books, a reminder that much of this tome consists of recycled material. ... Tim Pat Coogan ... he is a decent, compassionate man who has made a significant contribution to Irish life. But he has not read up on Irish history; indeed, such is the paucity of his research efforts that this book amounts to a travesty of 20th-century Irish history" (1916: The Mornings After).
Sean O'Callaghan, a former IRA paramilitary, turned agent for the Garda Síochána's Special Branch, said that Coogan's material was required reading for jailed IRA prisoners.
The historian Ronan Fanning viewed Coogan's work in a positive light, quoting him multiple times in his book about Éamon De Valera.
On the Blanket: The H Block story, 1980; Ward River Press - Dublin ASIN: B0013LSNEU. ISBN0907085016. A paperback original, no hardcover was issued. First editions are uncommon in good condition. A controversial account of the dirty protest in the Ireland of the time.