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Patrick Kavanagh and The Leader Walsh, Pat

ISBN: 9781856356640

In October 1952 The Leader, a political and cultural magazine operating in Dublin, published an unsigned 'Profile' of the poet, Patrick Kavanagh which he considered offensive. He sued The Leader (and its printer) for damages. 


The case came to court in February 1954. Former Taoiseach John A. Costello appeared as lead barrister for the defence. The libel case became a public sensation, receiving extensive newspaper coverage at the time, with lengthy queues of spectators outside the court each day. 


Costello's detailed and masterful cross examination of Kavanagh which went on over a number of days, fatally undermined Kavanagh's case. The jury found that Kavanagh had not been libelled. Kavanagh was both personally humiliated and financially devastated. On appeal the decision was later overturned but the damage to Kavanagh had been done.



ISBN 9781856356640

  • Patrick Kavanagh and The Leader