This book will not chronologically describe the life and times of Seamus Pattison. That is not to say that is devoid of a biographical orientation. On the contrary, key parts of Seamus’s lengthy career and that of his late father, James P. Pattison, are narrated and illuminated. The questions therefore arise as to what role Seamus Pattison plays in the book. The authors see him primarily as a lens through which to observe and analyse aspects of Irish politics over a period of some fifty years. The book is thematic in its approach. Themes such as constituency work, the office of the Ceann Comhairle, and the role of Parliament are discussed. Drawing on over forty interviews with Seamus, academic literature and popular sources, the book adopts an analytical approach. Crucially the authors see Seamus Pattison as a most useful scholarly resource. He helps us to understand better how Irish politics works. In his forty-five years as a member of Dáil Éireann, Seamus Pattison has witnessed significant changes in Irish political life.
Chapter 1: A changing political, economic and social landscape