Sunday, May 06, 2012

Book Review: "Just Joe" by Joe Duffy

In my time in Trinity as an undergraduate student from 1978 to 1983, one fellow student stood out from all others in this period - Joe Duffy. An abiding memory of that time was first of all the Duffy/White/Hayes student union election - I did not vote for them. I firmly recall Duffy, in his green duffle coat, speaking in Front Square many times and alluding to the fact that he was one of only three students in Trinity from Ballyfermot. He was a fantastic speaker, and rallied hundreds of students to the various causes of the time. 

Image link to RTÉ.ie.
I remember his protest march out the front gates of Trinity and back in again very well - I followed him. I studied hard the photo in the book of the occupation of the Junior Common Room to see if I was there - I wasn't, though I do remember occupying the Dining Hall (and helping myself to a lot of Guinness). I was on several of Joe Duffy's student union protests at that time. I met him just once in my time in Trinity - I was on a picket at The Buttery and he came along to show his support. I recall being mildly embarrassed as I mentioned my motorbike, trying hard not to look like I had any money. Years later I met him when he launched Dr Paul Mooney's book - "Accidental Leadership". We chatted and I reminded him of that last time we had met.

"Just Joe" is an easy to read book. His years spent in Trinity were the most interesting for me 'cos I was there. His drive to educate himself is an inspiration to all - the book describes a relatively happy childhood and school/college days, The last part of the book is about Liveline - a show that I don't get to listen to very much, so I wasn't too interested in that. There is no doubt that Joe Duffy has made a difference to many people's lives - far more than he could possibly have hoped to achieve as a social worker/probation officer. He is proud of his roots and rightly so.

Good stuff Joe.

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