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Michael Nugent (born in 1961 in Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish writer and activist. He has written or co-written five books and the comedy musical play I, Keano, he writes a blog about happiness and atheism, and he has campaigned on many political issues.

He attended St. Aidan's C.B.S. secondary school in Dublin, before graduating in 1983 from the Dublin Institute of Technology, where he was Students Union president. He worked as a graphic designer in the 1980s, and as an internet consultant in the 1990s. He supports the Dublin football club Bohemians, and the English club Leeds United.[1]

In December 2008, Nugent was elected inaugural chairperson of the newly-founded Atheist Ireland; an association of atheists based in the Republic of Ireland.[2]

Contents

Writing career

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Works

  • MichaelNugent.com, a blog about happiness, atheism and life, 2008
  • That's Ireland, a blog about living in Ireland, 2007
  • I, Keano, comedy musical play with Arthur Mathews and Paul Woodfull, 2005
  • Absurdly Yours – The Michael Nugent Letters, 2004 ISBN 1-84131-671-7
  • That’s Ireland – A Miscellany, with Damien Corless, 2003 ISBN 1-84131-633-4
  • Ireland on the Internet – The Definitive Guide, 1995 ISBN 0-86121-647-4
  • Dear Me – The Diary of John Mackay, 1994 ISBN 0-86121-615-6
  • Dear John – The John Mackay Letters, with Sam Smyth, 1993 ISBN 0-86121-550-8 (hardback ISBN 0-86121-530-3)

Books

Absurdly Yours and Dear John are comedy books of prank letters to famous people, with real-life replies. Dear John was a number one bestseller in Ireland. As two examples, Nugent wrote to Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary with a proposal for developing airplanes with no seats, and he wrote to the Football Association of Ireland posing as a scientist who had developed a left-footed football. [3]

That’s Ireland – A Miscellany is a collection of unusual facts about Ireland. [4][5][6] It reached the Irish bestseller lists, and led to a follow-up blog. Dear Me is a satirical diary of a year in Irish politics. Ireland on the Internet was an early introduction to the then-emerging Internet in Ireland. After writing it, Nugent worked in the Internet industry during the late 1990s before returning again to writing.

Theatre

Nugent, with Arthur Mathews and Paul Woodfull, co-wrote I, Keano, a comedy musical play about footballer Roy Keane leaving the Republic of Ireland national football team before the 2002 FIFA World Cup. [7][8]

It is presented as a mock-epic melodrama about an ancient Roman legion preparing for war. In its first two years, over half a million people watched it, generating €10m ($13m) in ticket sales.[9][10] In January 2008, it began its fourth year of performances.

Television

Various Irish television shows have interviewed Nugent about his work. These include morning shows such as Ireland AM on TV3; afternoon shows such as The Big Bite with David McWilliams and the Seoige and O'Shea show on RTE; and evening shows such as The Pat Kenny Show on RTE and The Gerry Kelly Show on UTV.

Activism

Campaigns

In 2002 he helped to prevent the Football Association of Ireland from selling broadcast rights for international matches to Sky television, but failed in an attempt to create a representative body for Irish football fans. [11]

In 2000 he helped to prevent the Irish government from appointing a disgraced former judge to the European Investment Bank. [12][13][14]

In the 1980s and 1990s he campaigned against IRA and loyalist violence, co-founding the New Consensus and Peace Train groups with his partner Anne Holliday and others. [15] In 1996 he won a libel action against the Irish author Tim Pat Coogan, who had wrongly linked the founders of New Consensus with terrorism. [16]

He has also been active in liberal campaigns against the influence of the Roman Catholic Church on Irish society, and an internet-based campaign to save one of the childhood homes of James Joyce. [17]

As chairperson of Atheist Ireland, Nugent has figured heavily in the response campaign to an amendment bill to the Irish blasphemy law proposed by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern. Nugent described the law as "silly and dangerous", and stated that ideas should always be open to criticism and ridicule.[18] As part of the campaign, he was involved in the launch of a website opposing the bill, called Blasphemy.ie, and in the formation of the parody Church of Dermotology, which satirises organised religion and the concept of blasphemy.

Nugent also used the aforementioned bill to highlight other areas of the Irish Constitution which he felt were anomalous. He pointed out that to become a judge, a member of the Irish Council of State, or President of Ireland, a candidate must first swear a religious oath. He said that amendments were immediately required to address all such issues.[19]

Party Politics

In 1999 Nugent was a local election candidate for Dublin City Council, running for the opposition Fine Gael party. He failed to be elected. [20] In 1986 he had joined the newly-founded Progressive Democrats, but left the party after a few years. In the early 1980s he was the student representative on Dublin City Council's Vocational Education Committee.

References

  1. ^ How I Got Here Careers Feature, Irish Independent, 25 January 2007
  2. ^ Blasphemy law is silly, dangerous and unjust - The Irish Times. Accessed September 6, 2009.
  3. ^ You Can Fool Some of the People Review of Absurdly Yours, Liam Mackey, Irish Examiner, 27 November 2004
  4. ^ You Couldn’t Make It Up Review of That’s Ireland, Brian Boyd, Irish Times, 14 November 2003
  5. ^ Reference Book of the Ridiculous Review of That’s Ireland, Sunday Business Post, 23 November 2003
  6. ^ Two Wits to Woo Review of That’s Ireland, Henry McDonald, The Observer, 1 Feb 2004
  7. ^ Review of I, Keano, Anthony Garvey, The Stage, 17 February 2005
  8. ^ Review of I, Keano, James Ducker, The Times, 2 March 2006
  9. ^ I, Keano Still Has Fans in Raptures Irish Examiner, 31 January 2007
  10. ^ I, Keano - The Never Ending Story Edel Coffey, Sunday Tribune Review, 4 February 2007
  11. ^ Fans Forum Hopes to Unite Varied Interests Mary Hannigan, Irish Times, 19 July 2002
  12. ^ EIB Must Retain Independence in Decision-making Michael Nugent, Irish Times, 8 June 2000
  13. ^ Bank is Prepared to See Other Candidates Mark Brennock, Irish Times, 1 July 2000
  14. ^ Historic Defeat for Cronyism as Hugh O'Flaherty Bows Out Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times, 2 September 2000
  15. ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/1996/0108/96010800068.html Towards All Party Talks] New Consensus Statement Irish Times, 8 January 1996
  16. ^ Peace Group Paid Damages by Author, Publishers Irish Times, 28 October 1996
  17. ^ Cyberworld Rallies to Defend House of Artist as Young Man Frank McDonald, Irish Times, 21 June 1996
  18. ^ Father Ted creators back challenge to the blasphemy bill - The Observer
  19. ^ Atheists fight to keep God out of Irish law - The Observer
  20. ^ Nugent's local election performance in 1999 ElectionsIreland.Org

External links


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