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Fintan O'Toole (born 1958) is a columnist, literary editor, and drama critic for The Irish Times. He has written for the paper since 1988 and was drama critic for the New York Daily News from 1997 to 2001 and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is an author, literary critic, historical writer, and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. His recent books have focused on the rise, fall & aftermath of Ireland's 'Celtic Tiger'. He has been a strong critic of political corruption in Ireland throughout his career.
O'Toole was born in Dublin on February 16th 1958 and educated at Scoil Iosagan and Colaiste Caoimhin in Crumlin (both run by the Christian Brothers) and at University College Dublin, where he studied English and Philosophy. He became drama critic of In Dublin magazine in 1980. He joined The Sunday Tribune on its relaunch by Vincent Browne in 1983 and worked as its drama critic, literary editor, arts editor and feature writer. From 1986 to 1987, he edited Magill magazine. He joined The Irish Times as a columnist in 1988 and his columns have appeared twice weekly ever since. In 1990-1991, he took a sabbatical to work as Literary Adviser to the Abbey Theatre. In 1994, he was one of the presenters for the last season of BBC TV's The Late Show. From 1997 to 2001 he was drama critic of the Daily News in New York. In 2011, he began a three-year appointment as Leonard L. Milberg Lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton, spending the spring in the US and continuing to spend the rest of the year in Ireland. In 2011, he was appointed as literary editor of The Irish Times.
O'Toole has criticised what he sees as negative attitudes towards immigration in Ireland, the state of Ireland's public services, growing inequality during Ireland's economic boom, the Iraq War and the US military's use of Shannon Airport, among many other issues. In 2006, he spent six months reporting for The Irish Times in China.
His former editor, Geraldine Kennedy, was paid more than the editor of the UK's top non-tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph, which has a circulation about nine times that of The Irish Times. Later, O'Toole told the rival Irish paper, the Sunday Independent: "We as a paper are not shy of preaching about corporate pay and fat cats but with this there is a sense of excess. Some of the sums mentioned are disturbing. This is not an attack on Ms Kennedy, it is an attack on the executive level of pay. There is double-standard of seeking more job cuts while paying these vast salaries."
In June 2012, O'Toole compared the Constitutional Convention (Ireland) to the Citizens Union, a reformist political organisation which Tammany Hall did not bother suppressing so long as did not threaten its hegemony.
O'Toole authored an abortion related piece in November 2012 about the death of Savita Halappanavar (when she was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarried in an Irish Hospital) calling it a "a shameful departure from civilised norms", the case drew global media coverage and protests in several countries in addition to Ireland.
- The Politics of Magic: The Work and Times of Tom Murphy, 1987;
- A Mass for Jesse James: A Journey Through 1980s Ireland, 1990;
- Black Hole, Green Card: The Disappearance of Ireland, 1994
- Meanwhile Back at the Ranch: The Politics of Irish Beef, 1994;
- Macbeth & Hamlet, 1995;
- A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1997;
- The Ex-Isle of Ireland: Images of a Global Ireland, 1997;
- The Lie of the Land, 1998;
- The Irish Times Book of the Century, 1999;
- Shakespeare is Hard But So is Life, 2002;
- Contributor, Granta 77: What We Think of America, 2002;
- "Jubilee", Granta 79: Celebrity, 2002;
- After The Ball, 2003;
- Post Washington: Why America Can't Rule the World, 2005 (with Tony Kinsella);
- White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America, 2005
- The Irish Times Book of The 1916 Rising, 2006 (with Shane Hegarty)
- Ship Of Fools, How Stupidity And Corruption Sank The Celtic Tiger, 2009.
- Enough is Enough: How to Build a New Republic, 2010.
- Up the Republic!: Towards a New Ireland (editor), 2012
- A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, 2013
- 1993 AT Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism
- 1994 Justice Award of the Incorporated Law Society
- 2000 Millennium Social Inclusion Award
- 2012 TV3 Tonight Show Journalist of the Year
- 2013 Irish Book Awards (Best Irish Published Book of the Year), A History of Ireland in 100 Objects 
- The New York Review of Books: Fintan O'Toole
- New York State Writers Institute: Fintan O'Toole
- Guardian Unlimited: In the valley of the Mohawk A review of White Savage
- External Links:. "Irish Times Articles by/concerning F.O'Toole". IrishTimes.com. Retrieved Nov 2012.
- Faber & Faber Publishing. "Fintan O'Toole Bio". faber.co.uk. Retrieved Nov 29th, 2012.
- O'Doherty, Cahir. "Who sank the Celtic Tiger?". irishcentral.com. Retrieved Nov 29, 2012.
- Biographical data from subjects website
- McCarthy, John-Paul. "2003 interview with Fintan O'Toole". The Science and Art of Communications. http://penhire.ie/. Retrieved Nov 29th, 2012.
- Naughton, John. "Britain's top 300 intellectuals". 8 May 2011. The Observer.
- Arts at Princeton University "Leonard L. Milberg '53 Visiting Lecturer in Irish Letters" accessed Nov 2012
- Princeton.edu News "Theater critic O'Toole to give Robert Fagles Memorial Lecture" accessed Nov 2012
- The Irish Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2010, "Inequity the bedrock of McDowell's 'Republic' "
- "The Corporate Media - Part 1, interview with Fintan O’Toole,". http://www.mediabite.org/. Retrieved Nov 2012.
- "Irish Times staff revolt at editor and directors' 'indefensible' salaries", Irish Independent, 7 August 2005
- O'Toole, Fintan (26 June 2012). "Tammany Hall lives on in feeble reforms". The Irish Times. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- O'Toole, Fintan. "When is an abortion not an abortion?". Irish Times. Retrieved Nov 30th, 2012.
- O'Toole, Fintan (29 January 2011). "The decision that I made on contesting this general election". The Irish Times.
- Roddy Doyle’s ‘The Guts’ named novel of the year Irish Times, 2013-11-27.