Phil on An Phoblacht -Mick Derrig

A comrade suggested that I write for the paper.

At that time most of the reporters decided on a pen name for security reasons.

It was an informal tradition among those writing for the paper to pick a nom de guerre that you had some familial or local connection to.

I chose “Mick Derrig”.

Volunteer Michael Derrig was my grandmother’s older brother.

He was one of the Frongoch 31 from Westport in County Mayo.

On more than one occasion the office would be called and I would be handed the phone.

“It’s for Mick Derrig!”

I was lucky to work with some seriously splendid folk as editors and fellow reporters.

In particular Martin Spain and Seán Mac Brádaigh.

The latter even made me the literary editor…

Jaysus!

As I was reviewing books that came in I thought that I could turn my hand to being an author.

Since then, I have written four books and my debut novel is published in June 2018.

All of that probably would not have happened had I not put in my time as “Mick Derrig”.

In recent years I wrote for An Phoblacht in my own name.

Thankfully the days when security was a concern are long gone.

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