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Statement on the death of Michael O’Brien

Date: Tue 2nd Aug, 2022 | 18:15

News of the death of Michael O’Brien of the O’Brien Press will have been received with great sadness by all of those who love books, writing and the world of publishing.  

Michael O’Brien was a pioneering, brave and encouraging publisher. His work alone in relation to the publication of children’s books was a significant contribution.  

He understood the great challenges that were there to the intrusion of the market in the world of publishing.  I recall meeting him as with others as Representative of Irish Publishers in relation to the fixed price of the book and the importance of the cultural exception.  

He had a deep love of Dublin and its people which was reflected in his publication choices.  He was rightly proud of the tradition that he and his father shared.  Tom O’Brien, his father, whose life is described in Strong Words, Brave Deeds, was one of those who went from Ireland to fight for the Spanish Republic as part of the International Brigade. 

There are many writers whose talent was first recognised by Michael O’Brien, not only those but all those interested in the world of literature will recall as I do his warmth, kindness and encouragement.  At our last meeting, when he visited the Áras, we discussed the 1930s.  

He will be missed by so many. Sabina joins with me in sending our deep condolences to Michael’s wife Svetlana, his children Ivan, Eoin, Dara and Ferdia, his grandchildren, his first wife Valerie, and his wider family and his many, many friends. 

Suaimhness síoraí dá anam. 

Michael D. Ó hUigínn
Uachtarán na hÉireann