I recently heard some discussion about a new book by Diarmaid Ferriter, entitled “Judging Dev” that is being forced into the secondary school curriculum this year by the Department of Education. One of the key components in Ferriter’s undertaking was supposedly to deconstruct the sometimes harsh character of Eamon de Valera, Ireland’s well-known figure from the revolutionary times surrounding 1916. By all accounts, the book is supposedly a very good piece of work and worth a read. I really must get a copy myself to check it out. However, what I would have issue with is that this book, although using original documents and photos is very obviously set out to tell a one-sided story of the life of one of Ireland’s more controversial politicians and presidents. My question: Is it right to enforce this literature upon students when there is no interpretation to be done. Here we have a written artefact that conveys a very serious message to students, possibly contradicting sources read elsewhere and it becomes a compulsory piece of course material. I worry moreso that this work has been brought in by a Fianna Fail government who, no doubt, wouldn’t mind a different historical perspective on Dev being instilled in young minds. Personally I’m all for the inclusion of proper literature into the education curriculum but I don’t think that openly one-sided accounts of a person’s life should be allowed without contrasting material. Any chance of a book on Collins, Minister?