Paddy Machiavelli

It’s been 500 years since Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince, but his words have hardly passed into irrelevance. Here to make that point, in his inimitable style, is celebrated Sunday Independent political columnist John Drennan.

It might appear strange that a 16th-century Italian political philosopher should provide us with a roadmap to political power in Ireland, but as Drennan makes clear, the gap between the parish pump and the Renaissance palazzo is a narrow one indeed.

A veteran of countless Leinster House power plays, Drennan draws on Machiavelli to cultivate invaluable advice for the aspiring politician, such as how to cultivate the cloak of being an ‘ordinary decent skin’, how to choose your scapegoats carefully and how to be a straight-talker whilst embracing vagueness.

This hilarious account of the compromises the Irish politician has to make in order to seize power is not just a ‘celebration’ of the politics of cynical amorality; it’s a timely reminder of the role we play in choosing our leaders.

The definitive guide to success in Irish politics, Paddy Machiavelli will have you laughing and crying all the way to the ballot box.

‘There is a fierce intelligence and fierce independence at work here. No one avoids his gimlet eye, and he brings to the whole bizarre ecosystem of the Dáil a unique perspective, that of the insider who remains resolutely outside.’ Brendan O’Connor, The Sunday Independent.

‘Drennan’s storytelling style is stage Irish, and like a culchie Cicero, he laces his brilliance with bile. It is the politics of Paddy and in the tradition of Hall’s Pictorial Weekly via Craggy Island’ Gerard Howlin, The Sunday Times

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Publication Date

September 2014




Paperback, 224 pages

Country of Origin



Gill Books


233 x 152 mm


By John Drennan



Availability Status


John Drennan is a Sunday Independent political columnist, occasional broadcast pundit and the author of two books on Irish political life, Cute Hoors and Pious Protestors (2011) and Standing by the Republic: 50 Dáil Debates That Shaped the Republic (2012).

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