The first annual John A. Costello commemoration was held today (19 June) at Deansgrange Cemetery. Despite the inclement weather, there was an excellent turnout to hear RTÉ’s David McCullagh discuss the career of the former Taoiseach. Among those in attendance were members of the Costello and Cosgrave families, the judiciary (past and present), the Bar of Ireland, the Oireachtas, and the four Dublin local authorities.
Organiser Barry Ward welcomed people to the event by commenting on how John A. Costello is not as well remembered as he should be, despite his significant achievements and contributions to political and legal life.
David McCullagh was then introduced by Councillor Cormac Devlin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, which kindly sponsored the event along with the Bar Council of Ireland.
Mr McCullagh gave a typically entertaining and informative talk in which he referred to John A. Costello’s varied interests: politics, the law, golf and his family. He described the former Taoiseach and Attorney General as an unassuming, modest, extraordinarily kind — even to his opponents — and generous man. He noted of Costello’s election as Taoiseach, ‘he really, genuinely didn’t want the job’. Although financial reasons are often mentioned, the truth — as Costello revealed in a letter to his son, Declan — was based on his fear that he would be a flop and would discredit the new government.
Concluding, Mr McCullagh drew parallels between the inter-party government and the present administration, noting that Costello’s greatest contribution was perhaps the skill with which he kept his two coalitions together.
A podcast of the talk will be posted shortly.