Author Brian Behan on living in London, being in the shadows of brothers Brendan and Dominic and his motivations for writing.

Brian Behan had spent much of his early life involved in trade unions and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. He has now decided to devote more of his time to writing.

I'm writing mainly because I've always considered that I would make a better contribution in terms of writing than any of my family have done up to now.

Brian Behan says his style of writing relates to "the inner springs that make the human being" rather than the outer skin.

He believes that the possession of ideals to be the most destructive thing for human beings. 

The belief in perfection. If you say, for example, that your marriage must be perfect and your wife farts or there's some kind of oddity within the marriage itself, then, of course, the whole thing will collapse.

He takes a more pragmatic approach believing that nothing in life is perfect and describes the idea of a perfect mother in the Irish context as a terribly dangerous one that gives rise to tensions within the family.  

One of the obstacles on the road to women's liberation is this position where the mother has this tremendous power and within which the father is a kind of hanger on, a supplier of worldly goods.

Politically, despite being born into a Republican family, he believes that the search for a united Ireland leading to perfection and happiness is very dangerous as the ideal hides the imperfections which are evident in the south of Ireland.  Brian Behan says he would sooner give up his body and blood for Raquel Welch than for a united Ireland. 

An Irishman in England since 1950, he believes it is important to get out of Ireland and to break the connection with your family, in order to write honestly. 

I hope to purge myself completely of any ideals. The only ideal I might have is of myself as a perfect human being but I don't know how many people I could convince that that is so.

This episode of 'PM' was broadcast on 29 August 1978. The reporter is Áine O'Connor.