After six years of covering politics for 'The Evening Herald', 'The Irish Examiner' and 'Ireland on Sunday', Katie Hannon is writing 'The Naked Politician' partly in an effort to discover the answer to a question that has long been a source of intrigue and fascination: why do any of them do it?
The latest crop comes sweeping through the gates of Leinster House after each election, giddy with relief. Every one of them knows, down to the last transfer, the exact tally of votes they garnered. They know because they have sweated blood for every last one of them, pushed themselves harder than they thought possible. In those desperate, final days of the campaign, they would have done anything, promised anything, given anything, if there was a chance that a vote was riding on it. Most have taken the long road to the Dail, battling it out on local authorities and fighting for the party nomination, election after election, until their day finally dawned. They already know the promises that must be broken, the ideals that must be abandoned, the compromises that must be embraced. The Naked Politician lifts the lid on a political system that rewards mediocrity and punishes idealism. A system in which the participants have long since accepted that only the deeply cynical can hope to survive and prosper. It shows how elections are really won and lost. It exposes the power of the party machines and the fear and loathing in the constituency trenches.
It is a book about pride and prejudice, about ego and ignominy, about the power, the glory and the grubby truth that lies behind it. 'Your local TD will never seem quite the same again.' Kattie Hannon.
Katie Hannon is one of Ireland's most incisive journalists and political commentators. After seven years of covering politics for the Evening Herald, the Irish Examiner and Ireland on Sunday, she has written The Naked Politician to try to answer a simple question: why do any of them do it?