Century of Endeavour

Chapter 6: The period 1951-1960

(c) Roy Johnston 2002

(comments to rjtechne@iol.ie)


During the 1950s JJ was instrumental in getting TCD to develop an Honours Degree in Agriculture, for which purpose the College bought Townley Hall in Meath. This however was never brought to fruition, being frustrated by the inter-university politics which arose around the foundation of the Agricultural Institute with Marshall Plan money.

In the 1950s also we follow the evolution of the present writer (RJ), his politics and his science, in the hostile atmosphere of 1950s Ireland, after an initial creative scientific incubation period in France.

During this period my father increasingly got personal fulfilment outside TCD as President of the Irish Association, and as President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society. Despite his political isolation in TCD, he managed to get to deliver a keynote paper at the 1953 Berkeley bicentenary conference. When de Valera returned to power in 1951, he brought JJ back into the Seanad as a Taoiseach's nominee.

The present writer RJ spent the first two years of the decade in France absorbing the culture of the high-technology scientific laboratory. JJ and I remained, as it were, in parallel universes. I went in 1951 on a French Government bourse, and worked with Professor Louis Leprince-Ringuet, in the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.

I had in mind to get back to Ireland via the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, where cosmic ray work had been initiated under Janossy, a Hungarian anti-fascist refugee, and I succeeded in this objective, thanks to an encounter with Cormac Ó Ceallaigh at a conference. There followed a creative period of 7 years in which I was able to do some scientific work of value, mostly on the experimental technology of high-energy particle physics.

The 1950s on the whole was a black period politically. I attempted to make my peace with Owen Sheehy-Skeffington, visiting him in hospital in 1956, after he had his heart attack. The Greaves contacts also continued, and we had the first rumblings of the crisis of Utopia: Hungary. I cultivated relations with the Plough, a 'Labour-Left' publication, and I was also in contact with Sean Cronin who had led the IRA 1950s border campaign. There were increasingly uneasy relations with the IWL, and a perceived need for a 'broad Left'.

JJ meantime was farming and market gardening in Laois, on a small scale, with the TCD kitchen as his (slightly captive) market. He was developing his long-term thesis that small-scale farming could combine with market gardening to generate an adequate income, provided that the marketing was organised, and the key to this process was co-operation, though at this time and location he had no opportunity to develop this aspect of the process.

The concept of a pilot project, with decisions being made about a trial system in a defined environment, was then, and still remains, foreign to the economics fraternity; it is more comprehensible in Operations Research terms. JJ felt that the inductive approach, of learning from actual experience at the micro level, was no longer being listened to or appreciated, and that economics was going increasingly towards abstractions, which he mostly found incomprehensible.

RJ's Final Year in TCD and the Nascent Left

The Irish Workers' League was still struggling for its right to exist, experiencing difficulty in finding a place to meet. I contributed to their new internal education bulletin, with reviews of books and suchlike. This was edited initially by George and Marian Jeffares; George had a TCD modern languages background, and Marian was a talented artist with a CPGB political background. They had married when George was teaching in England, and returned to Ireland, where George developed a business as a motor-car salesman.

The January 1951 issue of the IWL Education Bulletin(1) had an article by George Jeffares (GJ) on 'Unity with the Republican Forces', and a review by the present writer of Vassili Robertovitch Williams' 'Principles of Agriculture', in which I noted the existence of a market for the English translation of the book from the Russian, and hailed it as a seminal work on the understanding of soil science(2). I managed to link some of the ideas with critical observations of agricultural practice in Kildare and Tipperary. GJ promoted the idea that the IRA was the strongest anti-imperialist force, and noted that the United Irishman had ceased publishing anti-Soviet articles, and that at Bodenstown they had vowed never to support an imperialist war, even in return for the ending of partition. Micheál Ó Riordáin commented on the Congress of the Scottish division of the CPGB, which he had attended. It was clear that the Korean war situation had prevented serious attention being given to the question of Scottish independence, though this issue was given a somewhat grudging recognition. There was much padding with 'international movement' stuff, and the usual deference to Stalin.

The February 1951 issue, edited by Marian Jeffares, led off with a statement of the agenda for the development of a Marxist theory of the Irish revolution, to fill the post-Connolly vacuum, occupied sparsely by books like Brian O'Neill's 'War for the Land in Ireland' and TA Jackson's 'Ireland Her Own'. The agenda she set was broad-based and in some respects insightful, but was ill-adapted to the available IWL intellectual resources, and as usual dominated by the Korean war and US imperialism seen as the 'main enemy'. There was not even a nod in the direction of the Irish national question and Partition, despite an earlier effort by George on this topic. There was wide-ranging negative response to the latter, mainly from ex-IRA people who had evolved to the Left. There was visibly some confusion as to what the 'republican movement' was: did it include Fianna Fail and the IWL, both these bodies aspiring to the all-Ireland Republic? There was a message of solidarity from Gus Hall on behalf of the CPUSA. The 'international movement' was treated with respect, and usually given some priority.

The foregoing is a snapshot of the position of the embryonic aspirant-Marxist Left in Ireland before I went to France. At about this time the scene was sampled by C Desmond Greaves (CDG), who had recently given up his job as an industrial chemist, to dedicate full time to editing the Irish Democrat. I remember at the time picking up that it was his intention to isolate himself with the notes, with a view to drafting a book on the history of the Irish working-class, which eventually evolved into The Life and Times of James Connolly. The Workers League had relatively recently been set up; I distinctly recollect it being said in IWL circles that he wanted to have residential status in Ireland so as to be able to participate in IWL events should the need arise. This could have been rumour based on wishful thinking in IWL circles; there was a perceived leadership vacuum. CDG's main priority however undoubtedly was his book.

In his Diaries(3) however he indicated that he regarded the stay in Curraun as an extended vacation, time for reflection, and getting the measure of the size of the Connolly project, which did not mature until almost a decade later. There is little explicit politics, but many acute observations of life in the West of Ireland; this, I surmise, must have reinforced his growing belief that the simplistic 'class struggle' formulations of the CP in Britain were quite remote from the Irish reality.

It was in the spring of 1951, my final year in TCD, that I visited him for a few days during the Easter vacation. We must have had much political discussion, but there is nothing on record in the Diary, apart from the fact that we climbed the Curraun mountain, which gave a great view over Achill, Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick. There is a reference to the election, and to the Dr Browne issue. He picked up odds and ends of local politics and gossip. There was also a visit from some IWL activists, including Justin Keating, the objective of which undoubtedly would have been to discuss issues arising within the infant IWL, but no hint is given as to what these issues were. There is much detail on how turf was won, and about some innovative small-scale machinery for use in that context; he provides photographs.

He went up to Dublin for the elections, observing the final rallies with Paul O'Higgins. He remarked on how old and tired de Valera was, losing his magic. The Clann rally was much diminished. He spoke to the TCD Fabians, sharing a platform with Dorothy MacArdle, Desmond Ryan and Eoin (the Pope) O'Mahony. Afterwards they discussed Connolly's background, including his birthplace, then thought to be Monaghan. My parents must have invited him for a meal at our then house in Raheny; I remember the event; I would have had a hand in organising the Fabian meeting. The only reference to this is: '..As I left Dublin Joe Johnston remarked "this is the fateful day, the day of decision between Tweedledum and Tweedledee"..'.

From March 1951 onwards the Bulletin ceased to have a named editor, and showed signs of having been 'taken in hand' by the leadership; the format was improved, but it remained dominated by the 'international movement' and touched on Irish issues only rarely. The March issue concluded with a definitive put-down of the earlier Jeffares article on 'Republican Forces', in the form of a Political Committee statement; the 'so-called IRA-Sinn Fein group' in the July 1950 issue having basically given an endorsement of Mulcahy's and MacBride's line. Also 'Ireland's economic subservience to Britain fits in to the aims of American monopoly capitalism... the role allotted to Ireland in the Marshall Plan... favouring more up-to-date methods... of supplying Britain with more cattle..'.

The July-August issue led with an analysis of the elections, which had taken place in May. It was said that "..Con Lehane for Clann na Poblachta claimed the 'workers' while Fianna Fail claimed to be the 'real' Labour Party...". The problems posed by the IWL's electoral experience were listed: the role of the Church, the IWL attitude to religion, civil liberties issues, the need to clarify the attitude to the national question, the method of approach to the people; the call was 'back to Connolly'. Pseudonyms were increasingly in vogue due to pressures on people in their work-places, a measure of the level of repression.

September-October 1951 issue showed concern with the problem of how to adapt the requirements of the 'international movement' (eg collecting mass signatures for the Stockholm and Berlin peace appeals) to the Irish environment, dominated by extreme hostility to anything to do with the USSR. There was an article by Paul Robeson, reprinted from Masses and Mainstream the US Marxist periodical, arising from a conference held in Chicago which called for a cease-fire in Korea.

By this time the present writer was in France, and out of touch with the IWL, though marginally in touch with French politics, and with the Irish Democrat in London, to which he contributed occasional Paris letters. I continue however to abstract the IWL Education Bulletin series, as it helps set the stage for the political scene which I confronted on my return to Ireland in September 1953.

While I was in France the 'Ballyfermot Co-op' episode took place. This is important because it illustrates the vicious nature of the opposition at the time to any sort of democratic, bottom-up, economic organisation of working people. In a new working-class housing estate, remote from shops, there is a clear motivation to set up a retail distribution system on the consumer co-op principle, and such a system was set up, initially in 1946, in Inchicore, where there was a co-op tradition among the railway workers, as earlier noted in the context of the 1914 Co-operative Union conference in Dublin, which my father attended (see Chapter 2). In 1951 it relocated to Ballyfermot, by which time it had some 700 members. Joe Deasy, who had become a Labour Councillor in the 1945 election, was the Chairman. Around this time he resigned from the Labour Party and joined the Irish Workers League.

The co-op for a while was a success, but the local retail traders used Church influence to raise a McCarthyite anti-communist witch-hunt. The co-op was put out of business and its membership disbanded(4).

JJ and College Politics

The decade began for my father with his being aware of his increasing marginalisation in TCD politics. He had been a radical too early, and was now classed by the new wave of 'young turks' in the College with the 'old guard'. As a result he came off badly as a result of the McConnell reforms.

According to McDowell(5): '...a dangerous atmosphere of frustration and...personal hostility such as the College had not known for the past 40 years...a general meeting of academic staff to discuss constitutional reform...on March 1 1951...'. There was a problem however in that the non-Fellow Professors would not agree simply to increase Junior Fellow representation. The Board then voted themselves a 10% increase in salary, and this increased the tension. It was noted that not one of the current Senior Fellow Board members, apart from Alton the Provost, had ever been elected as a Junior Fellows representative.

My father increasingly got his fulfilment outside TCD; his long-standing membership of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society had culminated in a period as its President(6). He was also active as President of the Irish Association(7), continuing in that role up to 1954, and subsequently as a Council member, contributing papers and publications. In this context he was instrumental in organising a pioneering debate in Kilkenny between Sean MacBride, Colonel Topping (a leading Stormont politician) and others, on the national question.

Despite his political isolation in TCD, he managed to deliver a keynote paper at the Berkeley bicentenary conference(8) in TCD in 1953. In this he placed Berkeley firmly in the national political context, with his concluding paragraph: 'John Mitchel, Thomas Davis, Isaac Butt, and in our own day Arthur Griffith, George Russell and Eamonn de Valera, have frankly recognised the debt the nation owes to the heart as well as the head of this great Irishman.' This paper was a sort of dry run, or 'executive summary' of his Berkeley material which he was later to pull together for his annotated edition of Berkeley's Querist (Dun Dealgan Press, 1970).

He had considered standing again for the Seanad on behalf of the College, but had concluded that his political base was untenable. He had made enquiries, primarily via Senator James Douglas, about the possibility of his getting in via one of the 'vocational panels', but had been discouraged by the response (I have treated this towards the end of the previous chapter). This encounter however bore fruit, and when de Valera returned to power in 1951, he brought JJ back into the Seanad(9) as a Taoiseach's nominee.

Background to JJ's final term in the Seanad

During this his last spell in the Seanad, he pulled no punches, 'going for broke' on what he regarded as the key issues facing Irish agriculture. For example, he contributed an article in commemoration of the Plunkett(10) centenary to a publication of the National Co-operative Council, a gadfly-body on the fringe of the mainstream commercial co-operative movement. There was a centenary event organised, on a modest scale, in Pearse St Public Library, presumably by the NCC, on October 18 1954, of which the proceedings were published. I treat this below.

JJ continued his economic polemical and critical work, in the Barrington Lecture tradition, though increasingly through more marginal publication channels(11).

He moved house again, to a farm(12) near Stradbally in Laois, and began to re-develop his model for linking small-farm economics with market gardening. He contributed this experience to the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society(13) during this period, though the new wave of econometric specialists were increasingly inclined to dismiss this type of analysis as 'anecdotal'. What he was describing was however in fact a quantified productive system in an economic environment, and JJ was therefore close to what would now be recognised as an 'Operational Research' or 'techno-economic' approach.

JJ as a Dev Nominee

When JJ returned to the Seanad in 1951 as a de Valera nominee(9), his first intervention was in connection with the Supplies and Services Bill on December 13 1951. This was a substantial review of his then current thinking on a range of issues, and I summarise it here. He covered the following topics:
  • The role of sterling assets and how their repatriation for capital investment purposes necessarily involves imports of consumer goods for the people involved in realising the investment process;
  • Any attempt to restrict imports, out of concern for the balance of payments in such a period of investment, would be inflationary;
  • Subsidising consumer goods for the poor is bad economics; better to sell at market price and increase the incomes of the poor;
  • The future of sterling itself was seriously in doubt, given the impact of the rearmament programme on the British economy;
  • No-one in the USSR was personally making money out of rearmament, but some people in the capitalist world were, and these were influencing governments;
  • In some quarters in the West, preparing for war was seen as better than a return to the 1929 depression;
  • Invoking his old Oxford friend GDH Cole, he quoted at length from the latter's pamphlet Weakness through Strength;
  • The triangular trade between Britain, the sterling area and the dollar area had reasserted itself post-war, but was now being disrupted by the arrival of Germany and Japan, and the rearmament process;
  • There had been ideological conflicts before, like Protestantism vs Catholicism, which had led to wars, but people had since learned to live with them peacefully;
  • The Ulster Volunteer movement in the period 1912-14 had brought back the principle of violence in Ireland, in which context he had made his first political act, in the form of his 1913 book Civil War in Ulster(14);
  • Communists should be regarded as erring children who would not be converted by atomic bombs; Attlee's recent visit to Washington had helped to prevent the US using the atomic bomb on China, which would have unleashed the third world war;
  • We should have nothing to do with the madness of rearmament and should recognise the immediate danger of the rearming of Nazi Germany.

With the foregoing uncompromising speech he re-asserted his political position as an independent Protestant democratic critic, despite his then novel status in the Seanad as a de Valera nominee. He was, of course, fully aware of the present writer's dedication to Marxism, and he was visibly trying to make some political space where his son's ideas might get a hearing.

Then on the Undeveloped Areas Bill on December 19-20 JJ begged to differ with Professor George O'Brien, who had taken a somewhat pessimistic 'dismal science' view; JJ welcomed the Bill as a step forward, but was critical because it had not gone far enough. The main thrust of the Bill was directed at the 'congested districts' of the West, which were dependent on remittances from migrant labour, usually from the US and from Britain. As an interim arrangement he urged that arrangements be made to make available migrant labour to commercial agriculture in the East, where the production was limited by the availability of labour at harvest-time.

Regarding subsidy to Gaeltacht industry, he differed with George O'Brien in his assessment of the risk of this subsidy being continuous. Once the initial friction was overcome, the presence of industry would attract more industry, and the need for subsidy would evaporate. He instanced the Canadian model provided by Quebec.

He went on to be critical of individualist capitalist models for development, quoting from his then recently published book 'Irish Agriculture in Transition', where he had drawn on the writings of James Connolly and Estyn Evans in support of the 'clachan' or cluster of houses as opposed to the individual isolated farm, and the implied deep-rootedness of the co-operative principle in the culture. He warned of the danger of fortifying the local power of the 'gombeen man' by undue reliance on capitalist individualism.

He went on to instance at some length the experience of the Templecrone Co-operative, initiated in 1906 by Paddy Gallagher in Co Donegal, which had extended itself towards industrial development and electricity generation. He regaled the Seanad with anecdotes about how the Donegal men had learned to pack eggs from a poultry society in Derry, run by one Mr Barr, an Orangeman. The Cathaoirleach became impatient at the level of detail JJ was giving, and as a result JJ wound up with a call that the Templecrone co-operative experience be used as the basis for Gaeltacht industrial development.

Continuing the debate in the next session on January 9 1952 JJ proposed amendment no 4: 'before Section 5 to insert a new section as follows:

( ) In the course of its operations the (Gaeltacht Development) Board shall have regard to the following major considerations:-

(a) the desirability of developing on an appropriate economic foundation a social and economic organisation in which Gaelic culture and civilisation may survive, flourish and expand;

(b) the desirability of integrating industrial development with a general economic structure in which agriculture, industry, afforestation, fishing, tourism, turf production and the arts and crafts play their respective parts;

(c) the desirability of co-ordinating the activities of the Board with those of Bord na Mona, the Irish Sugar Company, the Forestry Department, the Electricity Supply Board, the Arterial Drainage Board and all central and local government agencies which are in any way concerned with ameliorating conditions in the undeveloped areas.

When introducing this amendment JJ harked back to Horace Plunkett and George Russell, and attempted to analyse the nature of the vicious circle of unproductivity that dominated Connemara at that time, urging the development of industry based on local products, such as a bacon factory in Clifden supplied by pigs from Connemara fed with locally produced potatoes and oats; likewise jam and chutney factories supplied by locally produced strawberries and tomatoes etc.

He insisted that the 'three wise men' who were designated to lead the development process should be locally based, and urged that the Department of Agriculture instructors should be brought in on a training programme oriented towards industrial production based on local agricultural resources. He argued for a co-operative marketing organisation, instancing the price differential between Clifden and Dublin for fowl and eggs, which was of the order of a factor of two.

Lemass in his reply was inclined to be dismissive of the need for the 'three wise men' to be local, their role being perceived as being to persuade outsiders to invest. JJ responded robustly to this, accusing the civil servants of only going to Connemara for the summer holidays, and being quite unaware of the problems as seen in the winter. Connemara shopkeepers preferred to deal with Galway wholesalers rather than accept local produce, and this problem needed to be addressed by co-operative organisation.

JJ was here attempting to generalise the type of integrated bottom-up development based on a combination of small-scale farming and market gardening which he was planning to pilot by his move to Grattan Lodge, Co Laois.

Local Economic Policies in a Global Context

After intervening on February 13 1952 on the Milk (Amendment) Bill 1952 in favour of opening up the Dublin milk market to unregulated supply from the whole country, with the surplus being used for production of cheese, on March 27 1952 he again expanded at length on the Central Fund Bill. This was the second day of the debate, and JJ chose to come in with his professional economist's hat on, George O'Brien having contributed on the previous day; the infliction of economics was therefore spread over the two days, avoiding overload.

He adverted to his peculiar status as an economist; when he had become a Fellow of Trinity College in 1913 he had been a classics and ancient history scholar. Mahaffy who was then Provost, alive to the danger of unleashing someone so young and inexperienced on the academic community, pointed him in the direction of the Albert Kahn Travelling Fellowship, in which context he saw the world, including India, China and the USA. This aroused his interest in economic affairs, as a result of which he '...abandoned culture... and developed a keen interest in social philosophy, and especially agricultural co-operation..'.

As a result of this background JJ always tended to look at Irish problems in a world setting, and most of the current problems were a consequence of the arms race. It was regarded therefore as most important to get into UNO, and to recognise that the blocking of our entry currently came from the US, having previously been from the USSR. The one UN body of which we were a member was the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and JJ commended to the House the book The Geography of Hunger by the Chairman of the FAO. It was important to retain our neutrality and to realise that we were in good company with Sweden and Switzerland.

He mentioned his opposition to the self-sufficiency policy in the 30s but stressed that in the current world situation the maximum of self-sufficiency was desirable. In this context he referenced his recent Irish Press articles, in which he had made several currently relevant economic arguments:

  • The need to get rid of food subsidies, especially butter, which was depressing the price of farmers' butter, and therefore reducing the population of cows in the non-creamery areas.
  • Ranging over the world market for butter, he indicated that there would emerge an export potential for the butter surplus if the price was right.
  • He reiterated the point he had made earlier about capital investment at home converting itself into an increased demand for consumer goods.
  • Capital invested in fertilisers for agriculture would give a remarkably quick return, especially when associated with the upgrading of pasture.
  • The previous Minister for Agriculture, Mr Dillon, while having been popular with the farmers, would happily have led us into '...an Anglo-American Alliance which, if certain wild men had their way, might bring us into a third world war..'.
  • The devaluation of our external assets had been proceeding at a rate of 23% over the past 3-4 years, so we needed to dedicate their investment for maximum rapidity of return.
  • He advocated development of production of Ymer barley, at a guaranteed price per ton, for use as feed at a subsidised rate, with the subsidy being paid for by a tax of £5 per head on cattle exported on the hoof. The current excessive price for beef cattle was undermining the breeding capacity of the national herd, by biasing the market against in-calf heifers.
  • On problems of the national rail network, he advocated a preferential vehicle tax for short-haul road transport, to encourage servicing the railheads for local distribution.

Internal College Politics in TCD

Meanwhile in the College on February 19 1952 Provost Alton died, and on March 18 AJ McConnell became Provost. McConnell not being Church of Ireland, the Chair of the Divinity School fell to the Vice-Provost. Duncan was appointed Registrar. On May 24 McConnell made an attempt to get the College Constitution revised; a motion to force retirement at 72 was lost, and a motion to increase the Junior Fellows representation was lost. A motion to abolish the fine for non-attendance at Board meetings however was carried. This had the effect of undermining the influence of the gerontocracy. JJ is on record as having voted against all three motions, believing that he and the other old-timers had a positive role. The new McConnell regime took a realistic positive view of the Dublin Government, abandoning the residual unionism of its predecessors. Despite this adoption by the new Board of his own long-held views, JJ did not get any of the key influential administrative posts, and remained politically out in the cold. He did however become the keeper of the Board minutes, which role continued for the best part of the 50s decade.

On June 6 it was decided that the informal Appointments Association, whose job it was to help graduates get jobs, became the Appointments Office, part of the Establishment, a significant modernising step.

On June 28 there was an echo from the student Left: it was laid down that in the Fabian Society non-College members of the Society must not have voting rights. This was a consequence of the existence of the Fabian Society, which had attracted people from outside College who needed a forum for the exchange of radical ideas. The influential rule of Archbishop McQuaid in Dublin at the time was such that it was impossible to get as hotel room for a left-wing meeting.

Also on the same date it was noted that five professors in the Veterinary College were to be recognised as College teaching staff. This was an echo of the ongoing struggle between TCD and UCD for control of the Veterinary College, in the context of the emerging new State-supported agricultural research regime.

On July 4 the present writer's French Government Bourse was renewed. This apparently was not simply between the present writer and the French, it required the blessing of the College. It is far from obvious by what channel they knew I was not wasting my time. In such a discussion it would have been customary for JJ to withdraw.

Then on October 8 1952 it was agreed that the Provost and Dr AA Luce were to handle the Berkeley Bicentenary invitations; there was no mention of JJ in this context. Luce, although a gerontocrat, was of course a front-runner in the field, from the philosophy angle. JJ's role was perceived as being more marginal.

The question of JJ's lecture load continued on the agenda; he was to still have six per week, to be reviewed soon. The following week, October 15, they increased JJ's salary to £1600, and Brian Inglis was renewed as his deputy, with his pay however to be deducted from JJ's salary (this was decided the following week).

These events, which he took as a rebuff, probably were the trigger for his decision again to leave Dublin (he was then living in Mount Merrion) and seek a farm where he could try things out, and do his TCD work by looking in occasionally. He went to Grattan Lodge, in Laois, where he again attempted to get his model for combining small-scale farming with market-gardening to work(12)

The Seanad: TCD, Berkeley and Tariffs

Let us return to the Seanad: JJ intervened briefly on June 26 1952 on the Tourist Traffic Bill, in defence of buildings of possibly historic status in danger of losing their roofs in order to avoid the payment of rates. Then on July 30 1952 JJ spoke at length on the Appropriation Bill. The Government had made a substantial contribution to the revenues of TCD, and JJ felt moved to thank them, though no longer in a TCD-representing capacity. He chose to take his status as a Taoiseach nominee as evidence that service to the University was regarded as service to the nation, on both sides of the Border.

He went on to regale the House with the way in which the late Lord Glenavy, then Sir James Campbell, MP for TCD in 1912, had attempted to get TCD excluded from the Home Rule Bill in 1912. A meeting of the Fellows and Professors took place which repudiated this move, and he had to drop the amendment. The College elected to remain part of the nation. Similarly, when Carson abandoned representing Trinity in 1918, '..after he had tarnished his name with the abominable policy of Partition..', Provost Mahaffy had remarked to JJ at the time, in effect, 'good riddance'.

JJ went on to promote the thoughts of Bishop Berkeley, being then involved in organising for the 1953 commemoration of the bicentenary of his death. He quoted at length from Joe Hone's edition of the Querist, in the introduction to which we are reminded of his status as the founder of a truly Irish political economy, as seen by John Mitchel and Arthur Griffith.

He light-heartedly introduced the topic with 'Whether if drunkenness be a necessary evil, men may not as well get drunk with the growth of their own country?' In other words, drink Guinness or Jameson if you must drink. He then went on to dig out a query for practically every Department involved in the Appropriations:

"Whether, if our exports be lessened, we ought not to lessen our imports?"

"Whether there be any other nation possessed of so much good land, and so many able hands to work it, which yet is beholden for bread to foreign countries?"

"Whether a wise State hath any interest nearer heart than the education of youth?"

"Whether, by a national bank, be not properly understood a bank, not only established by public authority as the Bank of England, but a bank in the hands of the public, wherein there are no shares, whereof the public alone is proprietor, and reaps all the benefit?"

JJ was particularly emphatic about this advanced concept.

"Whether interest be not apt to bias judgment? and whether traders only are to be consulted about trade, or bankers about money?"

"Whether one, whose end is to make his countrymen think, may not gain his end, even though they should not think as he doth?"

JJ identified with this role, in his public life.

"Whether there can be a worse sign than that people should quit their country for a livelihood? Though men often leave their country for health, or pleasure, or riches, yet to leave it merely for a livelihood, whether this be not exceeding bad and sheweth some peculiar mismanagement?"

"Whether the industry of our people employed in foreign lands, while our own are left uncultivated, be not a grave loss to the country?"

"Whether it would not be much better for us, if instead of sending our men abroad we could draw men from the neighbouring countries to cultivate our own?"

"Whether we had not, some years since, a manufacture of hats at Athlone, and of earthenware at Arklow, and what became of those manufactures?"

JJ used this particular Query in positive recognition of some of the results of the 1930s Fianna Fail industrialisation policy.

And then finally "Whether it be not wonderful that with such pastures, and so many black cattle, we do not find ourselves in cheese?" On this matter JJ applauded the recent modest development, but called for more, and pointed out the relatively low consumption per head.

In the latter part of his speech JJ dealt with the question of how to measure the reproductive capacity of the national herd. In-calf heifer statistics were only taken on June 1 and showed what must be a serious underestimate, knowing the herd size and the mean cow lifetime. They should be taken biennially.

Then on December 3 1952, on the Imposition of Duties (no 2) Bill, JJ picked up again the arguments used in his Nemesis of Economic Nationalism, pointing out that protecting an industry employing a measurable number of people sounded good at first sight, but the resulting rise in prices eroded jobs elsewhere, to an extent that was not easily visible, being spread thinly. While he approved of protecting Waterford Glass, a traditional industry worthy of revival, to involve other firms in the protection process could increase the price of equipment necessary on the farm and in the farmyard, where the bulk of the wealth was produced.

Later in the same debate Senator James Douglas supported JJ's arguments for tariffs in favour of industries having a historical background, and thus a probability of survival. He adduced evidence from his own experience, relating to the Liberties weavers.

On December 4 1952, George O'Brien introduced a motion on the Income-tax Code seeking to set up a Commission to look into it. JJ supported this, with reference to the need to make medical expenses deductible, a device which would give for the first time a measure of incomes in the medical profession, as was the case in the USA. JJ then went on to the question of farm incomes, and how they were taxed currently based on the Griffith valuation. He regarded the latter as positive, as it gave an incentive to increase production, though it became a disincentive if they were so successful that they came into the tax net on the evidence of accounts kept. He wanted to design a system which would penalise sloth and reward enterprise. He then tried to get into discussion of the effects of the conacre system (11-month lettings), this being a source of income for many non-active owners of land, but was ruled out of order.

On December 10 1952, in the debate on the Finance (Excise Duties - Vehicles) Bill, JJ made an attempt to get an incentive built in, such as to encourage owners of small and medium lorries to work within a restricted radius, thus encouraging the use of the railways for goods transport, and to restrict the access of heavy lorries to roads fit to carry them.

He continued this effort on the next day, introducing, in two successive versions, an amendment entitling the Minister by regulation to enable locally-owned vehicles to service deliveries via the nearest public transport node, offering a favourable rate of taxation for this purpose. This however was dismissed by the Minister as impracticable. The debate tailed off into issues arising for the use of tractors for tasks other than agricultural.

Continuing what must by now have become a routine, on December 11 1952, on the Supplies and Services (Continuance) Bill, JJ again drew attention to the failure of agricultural production to increase in volume, despite the underutilisation of land resources. He pointed out the contrast between the few effective farmers and the many who did as little as possible and allowed weeds to grow on their land. He urged consideration of passing a law to enable efficient farmers by compulsory purchase to expand their holdings at the expense of neighbours who neglected their land. He offered to give to the Minister privately examples of where so-called farmers preferred to leave land derelict than to sell it to a neighbour who could use it productively.

JJ as President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society

JJ's paper to the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society Economic Leviathans(15) was the second of his Presidency; it was delivered on February 5 1953. It was a monumental attempt to summarise the history of the interactions between the 'leviathans', Britain and the US, in the interstices of whose turbulent movements we in our small boat, and other European nations, have to survive.

JJ reminded his audience that the protectionism of the US in the 1920s had crippled the re-development of Europe's export trade, and led directly to the 1929 debacle. He went on to relate this to the dollar crises which followed the second world war, and predicted the demise effectively of the 'sterling area'. He analysed the effects of the Marshall Plan, including the negative effects of its coming to an end, and then the effects of the price perturbations introduced by the Korean war.

Commenting on the 'Colombo plan' he remarked that the indigent citizens of the colonial empire were being expected to subsidise both Britain's welfare State and her rearmament drive.

He went on to note the re-emergence of Germany and Japan as significant actors in the export markets of the world, and commented on the probable effects of the industrialisation programme in Eastern Europe, which he predicted would be crippled by the restriction of east-west trade.

This paper constituted a critical assessment of the way world trade had been developing under the influence of the Cold War and rearmament. He remarked that the US would rather spend $1B on rearmament than $100M on investing, perhaps with some risk, in the development of an impoverished country regarded as untrustworthy. He concluded that '...any sudden outbreak of real peace would inflict a most serious shock on capitalist economies...'.

The ensuing discussion included TK Whitaker, Prof GA Duncan, Mr Bourke and Dr Geary.

Science, TCD, UCD and Agricultural Research

On February 18 1953 at the TCD Board the Provost agreed to invite the British Association for the Advancement of Science to hold its 1957 meeting in Dublin. It is not clear whether this was a TCD initiative or a joint Dublin Universities action. I suspect the former, as I have not found any reference to the episode in Donal McCartney's 'UCD a National Idea' (Gill & MacMillan 1999). But I do recollect the UCD science faculty people participating with enthusiasm, and we also contributed from the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, where I was working as a research scholar from 1953 to 1957, and then as Assistant Professor up to 1960.

Then on February 24 1953, after receiving a letter from the Department of Agriculture, the Board agreed in principle to support an Agricultural Institute. JJ, despite his marginalisation, still had some clout in this domain, and on April 29 the Board appointed him to attend as an observer an meeting of the International Seed Testing Association, to be held in Dublin on May 26-30. JJ continued to attend the Board, and write the minutes, despite being excluded from positions of influence. On November 25 the question of the Agriculture and Forestry course came up: there was a fees deal done with UCD, with TCD recognising UCD fees paid. This was a further step in the evolving agricultural role of TCD, in which JJ had a continuing interest.

The role of the TCD Board in supporting science-based initiatives during a 'dark age' of governmental neglect of things scientific perhaps needs to be analysed, and JJ on such matters was well-informed and supportive.

The Seanad: Gombeen Capitalism and other issues

Returning to the Seanad, on March 12 1953 the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill provided JJ with an opportunity to recycle some of his earlier work, published in Hermathena and elsewhere, on the classical origins of trade and the invention of money. He regaled the House learnedly with Plato, Aristotle, Berkeley and Boisguilbert, the main message being the positive effect of mass consumption on the overall health of the economy, quoting from the latter '..If the rich understood their interests they would wholly relieve the poor of their taxes, which would immediately create more well-to-do persons..'.

Responding to a reprimand from the Chair, he then came down to earth with discussion of retail price maintenance, and re-iterated his criticisms of the retail trade that he had originally produced in the 20s and 30s; basically that there were far too many people engaged in it, and the whole could be handled by the top 7% of the shops doubling their capacity. He instanced his own experience with trying to sell Irish Agriculture in Transition outside the retail bookshops, with special deals for farmers clubs and so on. He had been told that he was welcome to do this if he liked, but that if he did, the retail trade would then refuse to handle it.

He concluded with some remarks on the nature of the capitalist system, which he regarded as basically trying to be co-operative, but being frustrated by the psychological emphasis on competition and conflict of interest. Increasing personal wealth at the expense of others was preferred by many to increasing wealth by supplying the genuine needs of others. The Bill emphasised the social obligations of economic decision-makers, and he therefore welcomed it, as far as it went, but he would have preferred a Bill pointing in a more consciously co-operative direction.

JJ has here put his finger on the essentially 'gombeen' nature of modern Irish capitalist culture, originating as it did with people who enriched themselves at the expense of their emigrating neighbours in the aftermath of the Famine.

Then on June 3 1953 we had the Great Northern Railway Bill. While congratulating the Minister (Lemass) on this Bill, JJ re-iterated the sense of injustice felt by the shareholders in the Irish railway system at the raw deals they got from the two Governments. Taking the GNR as an example, it would cost £30M to rebuild it at current prices, the sale of the assets would realise perhaps £10M, but the shareholders only got £4.5M for it. Leaving this aside, he went on to address the question of the overall cost of transport in Ireland, which was 5% of GNP, while in Britain it was 3.5% and in the US 2.2%. The problem was that production was insufficient to make full use of the transport infrastructure provided.

In the specific case of the GNR, the transport system was additionally damaged by Partition, which had restricted trade across the Border, despite, as JJ used to say, the '..three powerful links binding North and South... God, Mammon and the GNR...' (the Churches and the Banks being effectively all-Ireland bodies). He went on to stress the need to undermine Partition by not attacking it directly, in the aggressive mode current in the Anti-Partition League, but by concentrating on developing functional co-operation in economic and social life, of which the new GNR joint venture was an example, which was a 'link of steel' echoing the Thomas Davis quatrain.

On June 17 1953 they debated the Turf Development Bill. After congratulating the Minister on an excellent Bill, JJ went on to point out some of the problems that had arisen as a result of Bord na Mona activities in the midlands, in particular, the denuding of midland farms of access to farm labour. On the other hand, the settlements with housing, built by Bord na Mona, would remain after the bogs had been exhausted, and the people living there would have the opportunity to develop the cutaway bog as new farmland.

One farmer he knew(16) had stopped growing crops through lack of labour, and had concentrated on intensive feeding of cattle, using silage, and stall-feeding in winter. For this purpose however he was now unable to get straw for bedding, and JJ wondered if it would be possible to get peat mould from Bord na Mona at a price consistent with using it for bedding, so that the manure generated could be put back to the land.

JJ concluded by noting the existence of the Bord na Mona research unit at Newbridge, and wondered if the technology would become available for gasification of peat by distillation or pyrolysis, leading to other industrial raw materials as by-products.

JJ had almost certainly picked this latter idea up from the present writer and/or Desmond Greaves, who had, up to 1951, been a carbon technologist working for Powell Duffryn. At the same time he fulfilled the role of a Marxist guru, interacting with the nascent Irish Left, in which capacity he had on many occasions shared a family meal in the Johnston house. I treat this as part of my own memoirs elsewhere in this chapter, and in more depth in the left-political stream.

After a brief incursion into interest rates on July 1 1953 on the Land (no 2) Bill, on July 15 1953 in the debate on the Imposition of Duties Bill JJ was provoked into his Nemesis of Economic Nationalism mode of thinking, and accusing the Minister of operating a shotgun policy of protective duties on all sorts of disconnected items, from plastic hair slides to art paper, when he should be developing agricultural production and industries based on agricultural raw materials. He was backed up in this by Senator WB Stanford, who had taken JJ's TCD Seanad seat. These policies were not reconcilable with the IBEC Report. This drew a predictably robust response from Senator Summerfield, the leader of the protected industry lobby, who however was somewhat coy about naming protected industries fit to compete in the export market, when challenged to do so by Senator Stanford.

On July 16 1953 in the Finance Bill debate JJ was able again to ride a few hobby-horses, attacking subsidies on principle, being particularly scathing about subsidised housing, the need for which he attributed to the distortion of the market caused by the Rent Restrictions Acts of the first world war, which had made it impossible for capital to invest in housing for rental.

He commented on the recent interest-rate rise, and supported George O'Brien in calling for a more intelligent procedure than interest-rate adjustment to govern capital investment priorities. He warned against the State soaking up too much capital. He questioned the concept of the 'right to work', warning of the danger of its becoming an obligation to work at whatever the State dictated, which he identified with 'communism'.

State spending on amenities should be tax-funded, while state investment in productive enterprise (eg electricity generation) could be funded by borrowing. State funding in support of industrial development should be rifle rather then shotgun or blunderbuss. He supported the IBEC Report. Most industry depended on imported raw materials, and the value of industrial exports was only 8% of the total; the value of imported raw material was four times as much. The balance was made up by agricultural exports.

He attacked income tax as counter-productive and called for local government tax relief in agriculture to favour new farm buildings.

Then on July 29 1953, on the Central Fund (no 2) Bill 1953, 2nd stage, JJ again brought up the question of housing for rental, and the extent of subsidy of local government housing, which he asked the Minister to reassure him was being paid for out of taxation and not by borrowing. He then went on to the question of unemployment in the building trades, which was not dependent on the extent of the housing subsidy, and un-stabilised by any ongoing demand for maintenance of the older housing stock, which was going to rack and ruin as fast as new houses were being built, thanks to the Rent Restrictions Acts introduced by the British during the first world war. He produced a letter from a 71-year old widow dependent for her income on rent from a dilapidating controlled-rent house.

He then went on to relate the housing shortage in Dublin to the depopulation of rural Ireland consequent on the failure to increase agricultural production, and to develop local industries based on agricultural raw materials. He adduced international comparisons, with countries in Europe recovered from the war, among which Ireland was at the bottom of the output per hectare list, and near the bottom for output per head.

The opportunity to get fresh capital and knowhow into Irish agriculture had been squandered by the 25% tax put on buyers of Irish farms from abroad. Had they been allowed to settle they would rapidly have been culturally absorbed, according to tradition, becoming 'more Irish than the Irish themselves'.

He castigated the dairy industry for its hanging on to the 'dual-purpose cow' and crippling itself and the beef industry by expecting the one to be the by-product of the other. He called for a farm survey, with some grading system for farms, with Grades A and B getting absolute security of tenure, and Grade C taken over by the Land Commission and leased to farmers' sons who had been through agricultural college. In support of this he quoted Michael Davitt: '...multiplication of land-owners through State-aided land purchase would not remove the evils inherent in the private ownership of land...'(17).

He concluded by advocating the Danish system of farmers' sons working as labourers on neighbours' farms for a real wage, rather than for a pittance on their fathers' farms.

On August 6 1953 the Health Bill 1952 was debated. This was Fianna Fail's version of the ill-fated 'Mother and Child Scheme' of Dr Noel Browne. JJ had not been in the Seanad at the time of the controversy, but I remember him being acutely aware of the issues.

He began with a Querist quotation:

'Whether interest be not apt to bias judgment and whether traders only should be consulted about trade or bankers about money',

and extended it to include 'doctors about health'. Doctors had a vested interest in the ill-health of the wealthier classes. The Chinese however pay their doctors when they are well, and stop paying when they are sick. JJ hoped this Bill was going in that direction. On the whole however the medical profession had been redistributive in its services over the years, subsidising the treatment of the poor by their fees from the rich. He himself had had free service from Sir Robert Woods when a student, with nasal surgery, to his lasting benefit. Better to put resources into good health for the young than adding a year or two to the age of old crocks.

He went on to warn against opening the health service to abuse, as had happened in the UK; he gave anecdotal evidence from Belfast, where the waiting rooms had become social centres: '..I didn't see you at the doctor's, was there something wrong with you?'.

On November 18 1953 JJ used the Supplies and Services Bill as an opportunity to comment on the international situation, attacking the implication that we would be pleased to join NATO if only Partition were ended. NATO he castigated as being inconsistent with the principles of UNO. He was pulled up by the Chair for taking this issue up; JJ defended himself on the basis that the international situation determined the economic environment, but in the end gave in. As a parting shot he tried to discuss transport policy, with the closure of the railway station at Naas, and the neglect of the by-roads.

In the end he agreed to postpone these issues until the Appropriations Bill, which came up on November 26 1953. JJ welcomed the fact that the Minister for External Affairs was responding to the debate, and used the occasion to stress the common economic problems in all European countries, with inflation being fuelled by rearmament. Membership of NATO should be avoided even if Partition were to be ended. The practical response to the Communist challenge was to make capitalism work, pointing it in a co-operative direction along lines pioneered by Sir Horace Plunkett and George Russell. Rearmament was '..like the person who decides to commit suicide for fear he might get killed..'. He did not think the Russians were thinking of aggression, having lost 10M dead in the recent war.

The Chair asked him to come back to home affairs, so he homed in on the proposal to build a fixed bridge at Athlone, urging the development of the Shannon and the waterways not only as a leisure activity, instancing the Dromineer regatta, but also for economic activity, instancing the transport of the coal supply from the Arigna mines, near Lough Allen. The canal connecting the Shannon Navigation with Lough Allen had been abandoned as a result of the ESB control of the lake level.

We come back to Nemesis country on December 2 1953 with the Imposition of Duties (no 2) Bill: JJ complained about there were duties on standard farm inputs like wire mesh, and blades for a Bushman saw.

In the next session on February 24 1954 on the National Development Fund Bill JJ showed signs of weariness, having been over this ground before so many times. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to steer the debate in the direction of agricultural added value, instancing the Dingle Peninsula onion-growers, and the need for capitalising the under 50-acre farms via dairying, rather than paying their occupants the dole for doing nothing.

Later in the debate on the same Bill, on March 4, he supported an amendment oriented towards supporting some sort of voluntary agency, or alliance of relevant organisations, in support of the economic development of the Gaeltacht, along lines pioneered by the French-speakers of Quebec. There were again signs of weariness; he had been over this ground before.

Then on March 16 1954, on the Central Fund Bill, with the Dail in process of dissolution, JJ spoke at length, with a view to getting as much of his views on the record as possible, knowing that he was unlikely to get in again(18). He declared the intention of addressing the problem of the inelasticity of agricultural output over the previous 20 years, but first made some points on the current Estimates.

He expressed appreciation of the increase in capitation fees paid by the State in respect of secondary education, as being of particular value to the smaller schools attended by the religious minority. He compared the situation with that in Northern Ireland, where the expansion of second-level schooling had been considerable: in Dungannon Royal School in his time there were some 60 pupils; now there were 250. The Republic was lagging behind this rate of increase.

He expressed concern at the rate at which historic buildings were being demolished, particularly via a process of de-roofing to avoid paying rates. Some 'big houses' would be marketable to foreign buyers who desired to live here or to retire here, and such people should be encouraged to play a care-taking role with our heritage of historic buildings. The 25% tax burden on such purchases should be scrapped.

Turning to agricultural stagnation, in contrast to the industrial increase, JJ took up some European comparisons, using UNFAO statistics. The output per hectare was the lowest of the 14 European countries considered. Output per person was in the third quartile, ahead of Greece and Italy. 'We would have to double... before we would achieve the standards achieved in Denmark and Belgium and treble... (to) achieve the results achieved in the UK'.

He then went into the history of production over the decades, and concluded that '...for one reason or another we failed to integrate our cash-crop cultivation with our livestock production..'. He then went on to compare the declining pig and poultry populations in the Republic with the thriving situation in the North.

He identified the key issue as being the relationship between the price of store cattle in the autumn and fat cattle in the spring, this being what determined the decision to stall-feed in the winter, generating the manure required by tillage. This price-ratio was unfavourable due to British policy. Similarly the price of feed relative to the price of produce dominated the activity of the small farmer attempting to produce pigs and poultry.

He went on to be critical of the 'dual-purpose cow', again using European comparisons: small-farm prosperity in Western Europe was based on '...a plentiful milk supply produced on the farms and on the production of by-products that depend for their existence on a plentiful supply of milk..'. A consequence of the abandonment of the dual-purpose cow and the switch to high-yielding milk breeds would be that the beef people would have to breed their own supplies of beef animals. The link between the two sectors would then no longer be via calves, but would need to be developed via fodder crops, particularly feeding barley.

The 1953 decision regarding a support price for wheat had resulted in far too high an acreage, and had pulled up the price of feeding barley to uneconomic levels. There was a case for keeping some wheat production going for strategic reasons. High wheat prices were subsidised by the taxpayer via the bread subsidy. They led to 'wheat ranching', which impairs the stored fertility of the land, straw being left in the field to rot rather than ending up as manure via livestock stall-feeding.

He concluded by again urging that the agricultural horse be put before the industrial cart, as had been done in Denmark, with expansion of the former fuelling the latter.

Back to Nemesis on April 7 1954 with the Imposition of Duties Bill: JJ castigated Minister Lemass for imposing a duty on milk cans, thus increasing the costs of the dairying industry which was far from prospering, indeed requiring consumer subsidy.

The 1954 Kilkenny Debates

On April 22 1954 there was a debate on Partition in Kilkenny; this was the first occasion when politicians north and south shared a platform. JJ and the Irish Association had a hand in organising it, and JJ participated. The local organisation of the event was in the hands of the Kilkenny Debating Society, which was a subsidiary body of the Kilkenny Arts Council. One can here also see the local influence of Hubert Butler(19).

The motion "that the best interests of 'Ulster' lie with the United Kingdom" was proposed by Col WWB Topping, then Chief Whip of the Stormont Unionist Party, supported by William Douglas OBE, the Party secretary. Sean MacBride led the opposition, supported by Eoin (the Pope) O'Mahony. Professor Myles Dillon from the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies was in the chair.

Col Topping, speaking as an Ulsterman, an Irishman and an Orangeman, listed some reasons why the price of losing the UK connection was seen as too high. He homed in on the hypocrisy of the official Irish language policy: the Dail Debates were printed in both languages but only indexed in English. Free trade with the UK for manufactured goods was important to them as an industrial economy. Farmers had guaranteed prices within the UK. Government orders for ships and aircraft were supplied. The 'Eire' government was dominated by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, as evidenced by the 1951 'mother and child scheme' of Dr Noel Browne, and the oppressive censorship of books and films. All this did not prevent the two parts of Ireland from being good neighbours.

Sean MacBride mentioned the higher level of tax in the North, and insisted that there was a mutually exclusive choice between being British and being Irish. He stressed the linguistic diversity of many European states. He mentioned the common problem of Irish-owned assets abroad, with lack of investment in Ireland; this was substantial and common to both parts of the country. He suggested that the Government in Britain would be unlikely to enact legislation unapproved of by the Church of England, and that the C of E had been responsible for deposing their King. He questioned the level of tolerance in a society which allowed slogans like 'to hell with the Pope' to be written on walls.

William Douglas praised the economic record of the North, mentioning newly set-up firms like Courtaulds and Dunlop. The only place in the English-speaking world where the State aided Roman Catholic schools was Northern Ireland. He quoted Cahir Healy, the Nationalist MP, in support of the non-existence of discrimination in housing.

The 'Pope' O'Mahony(20) argued for north-south agriculture-industry interaction as the route to prosperity, and pointed out that a new 'Ulster Plantation' was going on, with all people in key leading positions increasingly being English, especially in the university system, with Ulster intellectuals leaving to take up posts in Britain.

In the context of the motion 'that the Society was worthy of support' JJ referred to Kilkenny as the Athens of Ireland; he mentioned Lord Charlemont his predecessor as President, and his own Presidency, of the Irish Association, and the role of that body in encouraging mutual understanding and goodwill.

Mary O'Malley, a Nationalist member of Belfast Corporation and a member of the Irish Association, gave clear evidence of discrimination in housing against Catholics, and referred to censorship on the part of the BBC regarding the Special Powers Act.

Arnold Marsh(21) pointed out that 75% of Ulster industry was foreign-owned and that they had thrown away their independence.

While JJ was still in the Seanad, and President of the Irish Association, he actively promoted the role of public enterprise and the industrial infrastructure, and its significance in an all-Ireland context, via a delegation of Irish Association members from the North, who visited Bord na Mona installations in 1954. This episode was almost certainly a spin-off from the Kilkenny debate itself, or the contacts made while organising it(22).

TCD and Agricultural Research

On April 21 at the TCD Board JJ for once did not do the minutes; the Board had extended to the Saturday, and JJ was by now living in Laois. He was also actively involved on this occasion with the Kilkenny Debates, as summarised above, on behalf of the Irish Association. On May 5 however he was back doing the minutes, and was still apparently regarded as relevant when it came to matters agricultural: JJ and Frank Mitchell (Registrar and counting as a new-wave heavyweight) being delegated on May 26 to meet with the Minister for Agriculture to discuss the future of the Veterinary College. There were 8 TCD veterinary students annually, but there were fee anomalies; to equalise required a departmental grant. The Veterinary College had become a shared TCD/UCD facility, a situation giving rise to all sorts of problems. I remember discussing the question at the time with Justin Keating, who was on the staff, and was convinced there were behind-the-scenes conspiracies, involving 'Knights and Masons'.

At this point it is relevant to remark that there is need for research and publication of the background story of how the Government and the Universities interacted around the problem of funding agricultural research, a process which led in the end to the foundation of An Foras Taluntais (the Agricultural Institute) as a State applied-research institute without initially any University linkages. Was this the State's way of saying 'a plague on both your houses' to the Dublin Colleges, which were effectively partitioned on the basis of religion? There undoubtedly is a story here to be unearthed by someone with the energy to dig. Justin Keating would be a good source of first-hand worms-eye experience. I understand that Pat Fox in NUI Cork has been researching this background, and look forward to seeing the results. RJ Feb 2002.

In June the annual appointments come up. After some political manoeuvres, with JJ initially nominating himself for Senior Dean, against the Provost's nomination of Godfrey, in the end JJ backed off from Senior Dean and got to be Senior Proctor, a post which had to do with the formal awarding of degrees to those entitled to them, a somewhat nominal role. The fact that the award of the present writer's PhD was coming up soon may have figured in JJ's motivation.

On October 27 a motion from the Junior Fellows viewing with abhorrence the invitation of Sir Oswald Mosley to a College society was considered and supported. At the same meeting it was decided to set up a School of Veterinary Science; this must have been a further step in the Agricultural Institute background saga. Then on November 10 the Veterinary College staff were recognised, and a School Committee was set up, with JJ involved.

Also at this meeting there was recorded, for the first time, the 'approval of the Proctor's Lists'; this must have been a consequence of JJ being Senior Proctor (a job hitherto regarded as nominal) and also keeping the Board minutes: he wanted to assert the legal standing of the role, as something other than nominal. In fact later on there appear recorded amendments to the lists, suggesting that JJ had successfully re-asserted a positive role for the Board in the awarding of degrees. Then on December 1 there was recorded the award of the degree of PhD to Conor Cruise O'Brien.

Seanad Swan-song

My father's final speech in the Seanad was on July 7 1954 with the Finance Bill. This took place after the election, with a new Government; the Seanad elections take place after a short delay. JJ used the occasion to put on record as much as he was let of the distillation of his experience(18).

He began by criticising the continuation of the butter subsidy, pointing out the adverse effect it had on the production of farmers' butter outside the creamery areas.

He then went into the basics of the principles of levies and subsidies, and used it a a means of developing a spirited defence of an article he had written two years previously, advocating a levy on the export of store cattle, to be used as subsidy for home-produced animal feeding-stuffs. He read into the Seanad record the text of this article, and subsequent press correspondence, after an altercation with the Chair; he made the case that his position had been attacked and misrepresented in the Dail, and the chair allowed it.

In this final distilled argument, the culmination of long political battles going back to the 1920s, he managed to encapsulate many of his critiques of a pathological production system which had been crippled by the imposition by Britain of conditions leading to the dominance of the store cattle trade.

Plunkett Centenary

In 1954 the National Co-operative Council published the Sir Horace Plunkett Centenary Handbook and JJ was invited to contribute. This was the Proceedings of a centenary event organised, on a modest scale, in Pearse St Public Library on October 18 1954. It was opened by JJ, who was reported in the press at the time as having attributed to Plunkett's influence the opposition to Communism in rural Ireland.

The National Co-operative Council, as we have seen, was a gadfly body, on the fringe of the mainstream movement, attempting to activate the latter via the re-discovery of co-operative principles and the education process. It never achieved much success, though there were I think one or two worker co-ops initiated as a result of its activities.

I quote the following key paragraphs from JJ's paper as published in the Handbook(23):

"...Plunkett issued a clarion call to self help through mutual help. Irish farmers were, and still are the principal wealth producers in Ireland. Their low standard of production and living was the central economic and social problem of the nation. Centuries of alien misrule had confirmed an instinctive belief that "the Government" was the principal cause of economic distress. The recent change in the attitude of Government from policies of mere repression to policies of conscious and conscience-stricken amelioration was creating the even more demoralising belief that Government was the only possible source of economic improvement....

"...Sir Horace Plunkett was deeply concerned to bring the commercial and industrial interests of Belfast more fully into the current of the national life. Some of his closest associates in the Recess Committee and in the IA0S were prominent Ulster industrialists. Partition, of which the IA0S was also a victim, has effectively restricted this helpful co-operation between Northern industrialism and Southern agriculture. The fact of Partition even to-day operates in much the same way as the fact of alien Government in the past to promote a spirit of personal apathy, or at least to divert to political agitation energies that would be better employed in more constructive work....

"...The Marxians hold that individual character is formed and dominated by economic environment. Sir Horace regarded individual character as of paramount importance. By free voluntary co-operation with his fellows the individual would learn to seek his own economic welfare only by methods which at the same time promoted the economic welfare of his fellows. A social organisation based on such an economic system could not fail to make its members better men and better citizens.

"The essence of the matter is that the individual should freely choose to seek his own good through such association. An.outwardly similar organisation imposed by authority, however benevolent, could not have the same moral influence and psychological value.....

"...When Plunkett began his propaganda the tenants had already been liberated. But no social organisation had been imposed, or even conceived, which could bind the isolated units of the mass of peasantry into a coherent and self-conscious rural community. '..In Ireland the transition from landlordism to a peasant proprietary not only does not create any corporate existence among the occupying peasantry but rather deprives them of the slight social coherence which they formerly possessed as tenants of the same landlord..' (Ireland in the New Century p49).

"Both Communism and Capitalism in its cruder forms sacrifice the individual to the material power of the State in the one case and the material gain of of the capitalist in the other. By organising the economic activities of farmers on a co-operative system Plunkett sought to give the national economy as a whole a co-operative outlook, and permeate the national being with a social philosophy in which the individual would be exalted because he was part of a social structure wherein economic efficiency was promoted in an atmosphere of friendly co-operative association.

"Co-operation, as envisaged by him, is simply the application of elementary Christian principles to economic relationships and social organisation. If two hostile worlds now confront each other in threatening hostility, surely the Plunkett philosophy -- in action -- is infinitely preferable to a 'cold war', or to a third 'hot war' which must destroy us all. We in Ireland cannot claim to have made that philosophy fully articulate either in thought or action, but at least we owe it to his memory to make ourselves familiar with the full scope of his far-seeing wisdom, and to approach our everyday problems in the spirit of his inspiring message...."

It is evident from the above that the contemporary Press totally misunderstood JJ's message, which was directed against top-down central-state autocracy, and in favour of bottom-up democratisation of economic organisation, which is Marxism in the sense understood by Connolly and the present writer, and constituted basically the Communist vision before the latter was perverted by Stalin.

TCD and the Kells Ingram Farm

It is appropriate at this point to abstract JJ's role on the Board regarding the Agricultural Institute and the Kells Ingram Farm.

Towards the end of 1955 came a serious attempt by TCD to get its foot in the door of the process whereby the Government was setting up the Agricultural Institute. On November 2 they issued a press statement on Agricultural Education, which they were currently discussing with the Minister, the TCD spokesmen being JJ and Frank Mitchell. The statement pointed out the TCD track-record: they had been active since 1906; it was part of the science faculty; they did their practicals at a farm near Kells up to 1912 and then at the Albert College in Glasnevin, which was then under the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction (DATI), and also serviced UCD.

Then in 1924 the Dail handed over the Albert College to UCD, along with the College of Science, without consultation with TCD. The TCD Board at the time then made ad hoc arrangements with Coffey, the UCD President. In 1953 the Minister for Agriculture had invited TCD to take part in the proposed arrangements for the projected Agricultural Institute; the idea was to bring together the two Universities and the professional organisations. There was in prospect either a central agricultural faculty, or else upgraded faculties in both Universities. The statement was signed by GF Mitchell, Registrar.

At a TCD Board meeting on January 11 1956, minuted by JJ, John Garmany of Magee was invited to join the School Committee of Economics and Political Science, emphasising the fact that the Magee connection was not only about Presbyterian theology. We will have occasion to encounter JG in the context of JJ's SSISI network (and the extension of the Barrington Lectures northwards), and also on JJ's Irish Association network, where he participated in the seminal Derry Whit weekend meeting in 1965, at which the seed-bed for the Civil Rights movement in the North was prepared.

JJ was prepared to use every possible lever he could lay hands on to keep alive the all-Ireland cultural and educational links within the Protestant community, and to keep TCD in the picture as a national institution, despite the 'intellectual partition of Dublin'.

On January 18 1956 Mairtin Ó Cadhain was recruited as a Grade 2 lecturer in Modern Irish, just about a decade after his release from the Curragh. He subsequently occupied the Chair. This was an enlightened move on the part of Trinity, emphasising the continuing aspiration to become part of the cultural mainstream without yielding to Catholic cultural hegemonism.

On March 14 it was proposed to develop a School of Agriculture in association with the projected Agricultural Institute, and a printed memorandum was projected, critical of the Government proposals, which were described as vague. If the entity was centralised, TCD wanted unrestricted access. If decentralised, TCD wanted full faculty status. The memo suggested four university-based faculties, each tackling different research problems. TCD was making a bid for soil science, with emphasis on upland soils. A location for a farm in south Co Dublin was sought, with access to upland. The farm was to be run on commercial lines. The other locations were to be related to UCD, UCC and UCG. The memo was presented to the Minister at the end of May by the Provost and Registrar.

According to the 1956-57 Calendar, JJ was on the Agriculture School Committee; he had by now dropped off the Commerce School Committee.

Early in 1957 the agriculture issue reasserted itself: on February 20 the DU Agricultural Society was sanctioned; this provided a forum for the agricultural students, a source of political support. The next week, on the 27th, the Board agreed the purchase of Townley Hall, an estate on the Boyne, near Drogheda, not far from the site of the famous Battle.

The farm was to be called after John Kells Ingram, who in his youth, in the Young Ireland epoch, had written the words of the song "Who Fears to Speak of '98", and who later had been active with Fitzgerald in the politics of the Royal University and the background to the foundation of the NUI. This naming was also a political assertion of TCD as a force in national mainstream politics, and a refusal to be marginalised by the 'Catholic nationalist' politicking of UCD under the leadership of Michael Tierney, which had the downgrading of TCD as its objective(24).

The issue was contentious, and the Board divided, the names being registered. The Provost, Parke, Gwynn, Luce, Stanford, Wormell, Mitchell, Chubb and JJ were for; against were Thrift, Godfrey, Fearon, Duncan, Poole and Torrens.

There is digging to be done if we are to understand the political rationale for this division. Both old-timers and 'new wave' are on each side. Opposition seems to focus on the science and medical faculties.

Duncan, who held the Chair of Economics, was opposed. But Provost McConnell and Registrar Mitchell were supportive, and JJ for a time got to ride with 'new wave' college politics, until later when the project went sour under the stress of what perhaps can be identified as Government centralist institutional politics.

I can perhaps put forward as a working hypothesis that those against represented the old Protestant defeated-ascendancy view (keep your heads down, don't rock the boat, accept Catholic nationalist hegemony, and hope to survive unnoticed in the undergrowth) while those for represented a positive assertion of Protestant participation in mainstream national development. The Provost, Gwynn, Stanford, Mitchell and my father were certainly all of the latter view.

A farm management committee was set up consisting of JJ, Mitchell, Byrne and one Lett, who would appear to have been the farm manager. It was agreed that the committee should open a bank account in Drogheda. The Veterinary College question was still smouldering: the Provost, the Bursar and Jessop were to meet with the Veterinary Council. These issues were all connected with the question of the relative roles of TCD, UCD and the Government in organising for the allocation of resources to agricultural research.

According the the 1957-58 Calendar, where a mention of Townley Hall first appears, the house was built by Francis Johnston in or about 1800. Mrs Townley Balfour, who had owned it, had died in 1955; she was a daughter of JK Ingram. The College was the beneficiary of a legacy left by her brother, Captain J Kells Ingram, who died in 1956.

When the Annual Offices came around on June 19 JJ managed, with the momentum of the Kells Ingram Farm victory, to get his way with regard to appointments. The Provost wanted Mitchell for Bursar and Chubb for Registrar, while JJ wanted these reversed; Mitchell had done a good job as Registrar along with JJ, representing the College with the Department of Agriculture, and JJ wanted continuity of experience with this role in the context of the Kells Ingram farm committee. JJ got his way. It was then agreed that Mitchell as Registrar should, as a routine role, represent the College in negotiations with external bodies.

On November 13 1957 it was agreed that the Kells Ingram Farm was to be accessible to second-year agricultural students from the following Hilary term, and the Department of Agriculture was to be asked to support a research programme in farm economics. This represented the culmination of JJ's attempts to get a scientific understanding of scale effects in farm organisation(25). We have here a 300 acre unit, with timber, crops, livestock and a walled garden, an integrated traditional manor farm unit, supporting over 10 families and generating substantially more added value than 10 30 acre units would produce, if the farm were to be divided according to the political objectives of Fianna Fail.

From now on JJ's main interest was the Kells Ingram farm. On March 19 1958 the management committee was strengthened by adding the Bursar and Webb (the botanist) to Registrar Mitchell, JJ and manager Lett. They were authorised to sell some timber. The bank account was moved from Drogheda to Dublin. One can here read between the lines; economic life in Ireland was at its nadir; there were mass demonstrations of unemployed in the streets of Dublin. Emigration was at its peak. The College was concerned: has it over-extended itself? On April 30 however they declared confidence in the future and invested £3500 in building a bungalow for the manager. The manor house itself was more suited as a conference centre, which role they later tried to develop.

On May 5 they agreed that GF Mitchell, the Registrar, was to represent them on the Board of the Agricultural Institute, and Jessop was to represent them on the Veterinary Council. On June 25 the farm accounts were noted, without comment.

By October of 1958 there were indications of unease in the Agriculture School: students were on the agenda, requiring permission to do supplementary examinations.

In November Duncan emerged in the lead of the opposition to the Kells Ingram Farm: on December 10 the matter came up, and Duncan wanted the discussion postponed until he could be there. He did not get his way; the matter was discussed, and it was agreed that the farm should seek credit subject to the College Finance Committee. Then on January 28 the Kells Ingram Farm again came up; Duncan proposed and Fearon seconded that the College should get rid of it. On the recommendation of the Finance Committee, a development budget of £20K was agreed, over the period 1958-63, to be regarded as a loan. The pro-farm group was still getting its way, and fighting a rearguard action.

The handing over of the farm budget to the College Finance Committee was a stimulus for JJ to take a look at College investment policy, which he did in a memo on February 11. He compared it unfavourably with the Church of Ireland Representative Body, which had gone for an equity portfolio a decade earlier.

On April 22 1959 there was a reference to the installation of a cobalt 60 radiation source at the Kells Ingram Farm, with a view to experiments in genetics involving irradiation of seeds etc. The Farm, and its possible role in the still nascent Agricultural Institute was still high on the agenda of the academic leadership: Mitchell and Pakenham-Walsh were sent to attend a conference of Schools of Agriculture in Paris on July 27-31, under the OEEC (Organisation of European Economic Co-operation), the 'Marshall Plan' body which was funding the Irish investment in the Agricultural Institute.

By April 29 JJ was no longer doing minutes. On May 6 they approved the initiation of an Honours course in Agriculture. JJ was absent on May 20 ad May 27; about this time he moved from Grattan Lodge near Stradbally to Bayly Farm near Nenagh. He got back to attend Board meetings on June 3; after this there are no more minutes in his writing. His increasingly poor hearing was by this time becoming a serious barrier.

On July 1 the Kells Ingram Farm came up again. Pakenham-Walsh and P McHugh the manager (he has apparently succeeded Lett) signed the cheques. The accounts were accepted on October 1, in JJ's absence, and the report was noted. There was set up a School Committee for Agriculture and Forestry; Pakenham-Walsh was Registrar and the committee included McHugh the Manager, the Bursar, JJ, Mitchell and LG Carr-Lett, who apparently now had an external advisory role. Much of the work within the TCD School of Agriculture was actually done in UCD; I interpret this as evidence of an attempt on the TCD side to develop inter-university co-operation, in the context of the opportunity presented by the OEEC funding, despite Tierney's ongoing hostility, as documented by Donal McCartney in his 'UCD a National Idea'.

During this time my father remained as Senior Proctor; he held this post until 1962, after which he ceased to hold any annual office.

He remained active in defence of the TCD role in agriculture, insofar as he could, from his distant base in Bayly Farm near Nenagh. He tended to come up for the mid-week, live in his rooms, and take in the Board meetings on a Wednesday. Sometimes however they overflowed to a Saturday, and these he missed.

He was absent on February 10, 17 and 24 1960. On the latter date the Board agreed to drop the Arts requirements for the School of Agriculture; this meant dropping the French and German options. JJ had almost certainly put these requirements in, on foot of his earlier experience of trying to get the Irish agricultural community to look to the Continent rather than to Britain for external experience.

On March 16 they decided to empower the Vacation Committee to conclude an agreement with the new Agricultural Institute for setting up an Applied Genetics Unit. Then on April 20 they employed a Research Assistant, Saeve(sic) Coffey, at the Kells Ingram Farm, and the following week they agreed to give Mitchell residential status there, while he remained Chairman of the Farm Committee.

On May 11 it was agreed that George Dawson in Genetics should undertake work for the Agricultural Institute, and on June 1 they decided to expand the Veterinary College building into the College Botanical Gardens. They were still clearly aspiring to have an ongoing role in both agricultural and veterinary science. Dawson's Genetics Unit was set up on June 29 at the Kells Ingram Farm, the agreement with the Agricultural Institute having been made successfully.

By November 1960 it was apparent that they needed to spend money on Kells Ingram farm again; they agreed on 2nd to seek tenders for alterations. On November 5, which was a Saturday, JJ was absent; the Board shows its liberal colours by agreeing to use the College Chapel for any denomination, provided there is a Chaplain nominated by a Church.

On November 9, JJ being present, 5 students were excluded from the School of Agriculture, suggesting that the system was under some strain. However JJ got to represent the College at the National Horticultural Research Conference to be held in Dublin in December. He was however absent on Saturday November 19, when the question of evidence for the Higher Education Commission was discussed.

To conclude the decade: one gets the impression that JJ's pet projects, the Kells Ingram Farm, and the Honours School of Agriculture, were under some strain, and he was losing interest, turning to the completion of his Berkeley book.


I have touched on my initial political role in the 1950s above, before leaving for France, and I expand on it below during the time after my return. In retrospect, my scientific work was central, and I gave it priority. Insofar as political work in the undergrowth of the nascent Left was feasible, I did also try to give it some marginal-time attention.

RJ and High-Energy Particle Physics in France

The Ecole Polytechnique physics laboratory, which I joined in October 1951, had three 'cloud chamber' groups and an 'ionographic emulsion' group. A 'cloud chamber' is a device for making tracks of charged particles visible, in the form of a trail of droplets of liquid in a super-saturated gas. The group of which I became a member ran a cloud-chamber installation at the Pic du Midi in the Pyrenees, which consisted of two large chambers, the upper one being in a 250KW solenoid, producing a magnetic field for measuring particle momentum, and the lower one containing lead plates, for measuring the range of stopping particles.

I found myself contributing to the maintenance and development of the electronics. I had picked up in my final year in TCD some experience of pulse electronics, thanks to a course laid on in the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies by one McCusker, who had a cloud-chamber experiment running in the School of Cosmic Physics, Merrion Square. The key text was Elmore and Sands, which enshrined the pulse electronics experience from the Los Alamos 'Manhattan Project' (ie the atom-bomb). Surprisingly this had not reached France yet, and I found myself regarded as an expert. The electronics had been developed at the then existing level of technician-ship, with the gain of amplifiers dependent on various random and time-dependent factors. I introduced the principle of the negative-feedback amplifier, where the gain depended on the ratio of two resistors, and was more or less independent of the state of the vacuum tubes (transistors were then unheard of). Getting a good square pulse, with fast rise-time, for use in coincidence and anti-coincidence logic circuits, was embedded in the Elmore and Sands text, and we absorbed it avidly.

There was also a problem with the photo-flash tubes, which were driven at high voltage from a bank of heavy-duty capacitors ('ici, c'est la chaise electrique'). Sometimes one of the 3 flash tubes did not work, and in this case the chamber illumination would be uneven, and the picture useless. I rigged up a handy little indicator, with neon lights, which showed whether all 3 flashes had worked, and if not, which one was at fault. This was regarded as pure magic, and from then on my reputation was assured.

While none of this work was 'world-shaking' in scientific terms, the experience was part of a global scientific culture which has thrived and continued to give increasing insight into the laws of nature. It was my privilege to have been part of this culture, and to have benefited from it in human terms. One of the lasting memories is of the relationship between the members of the physics community and the technicians who worked with them making their equipment, and getting it to work; this was based on mutual respect between people having complementary skills, unsullied by exploitation. I shared with JD Bernal(26) the vision that this might be a glimpse of the human side of the productive process in some post-capitalist future, owned by those directly concerned and not by some remote alien capitalist consortium.

I should perhaps record an exception; one Mayer, who came from Brazil, from an upper-crust Hispanic background, refused to help with the cleaning of the windows of the cloud-chamber, insisting that this was not physicists work. It is actually quite a crucial part of the preparation of the chamber when stripped down for maintenance, and everyone concerned had to know how to do it correctly; it is part of the 'black art'. This perhaps says something about Latin-American society. In fact, most of the physics world, being usually at the frontiers of knowledge, has to live with the need for hands-on mastery of its technical practice by its scientists, who then, when they can, pass the knowledge on to the technician community by apprenticeship or osmosis. There is no room for disdain of dirty-handed processes.

In July 1953, towards the end of my spell in scientific work in France, there was a Cosmic Ray Conference(27) at Bagneres de Bigorre, which was the base-location for the Pic du Midi operations. This was held there in honour of our cloud chamber installation, which was ground-breaking, and at the time the largest in the world. The conference explored competitively the utilities of the cloud-chamber and ionographic emulsion as tools; the bubble-chamber was an additional competitive threat on the horizon, as indeed was the next generation of particle accelerators. Cosmic rays were still the main source of particles having energy enough to produce heavy mesons and hyperons from protons and neutrons. We did what we could with the tools to hand. When the new tools arrived in the mid to late 50s, the then 'cosmic ray community' split into those looking at cosmic rays cosmologically, seeking their origins, energy spectra etc, and those interested in cosmic rays primarily as sources for generating high-energy nuclear interaction; the latter gravitated towards the accelerators as sources, continually refining their experimental technologies. I followed the latter path.

Return to Dublin

Cormac Ó Ceallaigh attended the Bagneres conference, and we met there for the first time. He was a pioneering luminary of elementary-particle physics, being the recognised discoverer of the K-meson, and in that capacity had just then secured appointment to the Chair in the School of Cosmic Physics in the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. He regarded encountering the present writer at Bagneres as a piece of luck, and he recruited me on the spot to join his team.

During our spell in Paris my wife Mairin had joined the team at the Ecole Polytechnique and trained as a 'scanner'; she learned how to scan with a microscope through the volume of the ionographic emulsion, recognising 'interesting events' and recording their exact position, to within a few microns, enabling them to be studied in more depth using various analytical techniques. She had become very good at this, and Ó Ceallaigh recruited her also to the team.

Mairin and I, during our first few months of work in the DIAS, were lucky: she picked up the track of a relatively heavy particle which emerged out of a 'star' (ie where a high-energy particle had encountered a nucleus and shattered it into many visible components) and which came to rest in the emulsion, causing another small 'star'. One can tell a particle is coming to rest by the way its 'scattering' (ie tortuosity of its path) and 'ionisation' (blackness of its track) increases. She recognised an unusual example of this process, and drew our attention to it; we immediately knew we were on to something, and began intensive work to characterise it. The mass was some 2300 electron masses, and the amount of energy involved in the small terminal 'star' was such that it implied that much of the decay energy had gone into a neutral particle, perhaps a pi-zero, or a lamda-zero, either of which would be invisible. The fact that it had ended up disrupting a nucleus implied it was negatively charged. There were at this time only two other such events in the world, both subject to uncertainties. This one was the clincher; it was later labelled the Sigma-minus, and entered the extended family of 'hyperons', which can be visualised as nucleons with a meson stuck on. This enabled us to produce our first DIAS paper(28).

This work continued productively until the end of the 1950s, when its significance began to decline; our experimental technology was rapidly overtaken by that of the major particle accelerator laboratories abroad, with their liquid hydrogen bubble-chamber detectors, and increasingly computer-based analysis of the pictures obtained. For a time however the procedures we developed became the standard in the European laboratories with which we were associated: Bristol, University College London, Brussels, Milan, Genova. Our work-team foreshadowed the multi-centred work-teams which have since become commonplace in European Union collaborations.

Gideon Alexander was an Israeli student who joined us for a time; he subsequently may perhaps have become influential in the nuclear physics establishment in Israel, perhaps with nuclear weapons, I hope not, if so, it would be on my conscience that I had helped him establish himself in that mode!

Jack Lynch, later to be Taoiseach, was in the mid-1950s Minister for Education; round about this time he would have been presiding over events such as the sacking of writer John McGahern from his job as a primary teacher by the clerical manager of the school. Ó Ceallaigh had to spend a lot of his time defending the very existence of the DIAS, and on one occasion the Minister Jack Lynch visited the place. He encountered Gideon and the present writer working on our particle 'scattering' and 'ionisation' measurements, and we explained to him as best we could what was going on. It became clear from his contribution to the conversation that he regarded Gideon as a 'foreign expert' we had brought in, this then being the dominant Establishment attitude to science. Slave-minded deference to Church and foreign expert went hand in hand. It never occurred to them that the DIAS was a place to which foreigners came to learn, from people like Ó Ceallaigh, Pollak, Synge and Lanczos who were, in their own scientific fields, world figures.

There was a paper produced for the second UN Geneva Conference in the 'Atoms for Peace' series, which took place in 1959. It was edited review of the combined DIAS and UCD work done in the previous 2 or 3 years(29). This I suspect was a political nod in the direction of the United Nations, Ireland having recently joined. Ó Ceallaigh delivered the paper; I don't think any of the others got to go.

It could also have been a device by Ó Ceallaigh to try to draw to the attention of the Government that there was world-class scientific work going on in Ireland, on a shoestring. He had recently reported to the Government on the question of what to do about the offer by the US of a 'research reactor', as part of the promotional process for nuclear energy. Ó Ceallaigh pointed out in his Report that the cost of this 'gift' to the Government would be, in ongoing running costs, more than the total then current funding for science in Ireland, and it therefore should be rejected, until such time as they set up a science budget fit to accommodate it. This episode I suspect must have influenced the Government to commission the subsequent 1964 OECD Report 'Science and Irish Economic Development', by Patrick Lynch and HMS 'Dusty' Miller, which in turn influenced the setting up of the National Science Council in 1970.

In major States, Government support for 'big physics' was in the 1950s analogous to Machiavelli's successful alchemist kept by the Prince, where success had been measured by earlier production of innovative weaponry. Ireland however was not in this league, although it had been in the late 1700s, when Dunsink Observatory was set up, that being the 'big science' of the time. Such traces of the 'belle epoque' of Irish science as remained were ignored by the Government, although they did constitute building blocks for an innovative science culture, should we ever get around to recognising them. The DIAS, with which Dunsink had become associated, was such a building block(30).

Scientific research at the frontier has an important role in training for other things. There was however a wide gap between the frontier and what was then currently realisable as it affected the people, especially in the Irish post-colonial situation. The full creative role of the DIAS was not understood by de Valera when he founded it; he simply regarded it as 'scholarship'(31) in the abstract.

Towards the end of the 1950s, shortly after the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) was set up, I sought it out, with the concept in mind that if the flight of capital and the flight of knowhow could be brought together, both might be creatively employed in Ireland. I remember finding a small office, with some civil servants in it, to whom I attempted to make the case for reversing the brain drain, and linking it with an alternative route for expansion for those firms which had saturated the Irish market and were poised for expansion. I had, of course, no business training or experience, and I doubt if I presented the case well. In addition however I ran into a complete culture-gap; this was my first experience of attempting to deal with a bureaucracy which had been trained totally from Leaving Cert level in bureaucratic procedures and little else. I got from this encounter a measure of the extent of the failure of the scientific and national cultures to interface.

In the Political Undergrowth: post-France

On my return from France the IWL was still attempting to pull itself together, in the hostile cold-war atmosphere. The membership record shows horrendous decline: June 1952: 102; June 1953: 79; October 1954: 59; the breakdown is as follows: industrial workers 27, other waged and salaried workers 15, students 6, housewives 6, self-employed 4, unemployed 1.

Losses were due mostly to 46 lapses and 17 emigrations. There was a Conference in 1954, which I probably attended, though I have no recollection of it. I would have been concerned to consolidate my working situation on return from France. We were under pressure from the then developing anti-Communist witch-hunting campaign orchestrated by the extreme-right weekly paper, the Catholic Standard, which was clearly having the effect of driving the IWL practically underground.

The Issue #1 (New Series) of the Educational Bulletin (undated, but circa December 1954 from internal evidence) blamed the lack of lead by the Labour party for not enthusing the youth and leaving them open to attraction by the IRA. It went on to compare the IRA to the Narodniki in the history of the Russian Revolution, and to call for working-class unity rather than sectarian wars: '...in the south there are those who would replace the word 'Irishman' with 'Catholic' and who would attempt to smother the great liberal tradition of the past leaders.... the IRA could be responsible for the unleashing in Northern Ireland of a flood of sectarianism..'.

The aspiration was to achieve a united all-Ireland working class including the Protestant workers of Belfast, and this aspiration was clearly threatened by the IRA campaign. However the key text for the education of Party members was the 'History of the CPSU(B)' which was subsequently attributed to Stalin. This new series was launched in response to the beginning of the IRA campaign with the arms raids at Armagh and Omagh.

I have a copy of the Rules as adopted by the IWL Conference in October 1954(32). It would be hard to fault the actual Rules. The Stalinist culture in practice however asserted itself via unwritten procedures, such as the practice of the EC nominating its successor at the annual conference, with rubber-stamp voting. The aims were (a) to establish in Ireland a Socialist society... based on the public ownership of the means of production and exchange (b) to ensure that a united Irish working-class led the movement for unity and independence and (c) to develop a militant Labour movement based on the Socialist principles of Connolly and Larkin. It goes on to define membership, its rights and duties, and to define a structure, with a conference at least once every 3 years, electing an executive committee.

It is worth remarking that 'public ownership' is left undefined, and the implication, from Soviet practice, is that the central State is involved. This was of course the fatal flaw in the case of the USSR, where the Party in fact became a sort of collective monopoly capitalist owner of the State.

One can get the flavour of the degree of isolation of the Left in the 1950s from these newsletters and conference reports. The present writer had more or less given up on the IWL as providing a creative political forum, and was searching around, encountering things like the 1913 Club (with Owen Dudley Edwards and others), and later the Plough, which was an attempt to develop a broad-left paper, edited by Maisie McConnell, and supported by a group of ex-supporters of Noel Brown, whom he had alienated. (Dr Browne had a reputation of being somewhat of a 'prima donna', doing things on his own initiative, and keeping his successive support committees in the dark.) A key supporter was May Keating, Justin's mother; Justin at this time was lying low in the hopes of getting a job in the Veterinary College.

The Hungarian episode

Desmond Greaves (CDG) on November 13 1956 recorded in his diary(33) attending a Central London meeting of the British Communist Party on Hungary. This attempted to understand the overthrow of the post-war Communist Government, led by Rakosi, by what was regarded as a right-wing nationalist insurrection, followed by an invasion of that country by Soviet troops. The extent of the disaster was rapidly becoming apparent. The next day he discussed it with Pat Clancy, a leading Connolly Association member, who was in despair: '..set us back generations.. war inevitable... little hope remains..'. The occasion was one of a mass walk-out by Party intellectuals. Subsequent entries recorded build-up of anti-communist hysteria in Hyde Park. On the 20th CDG noted that Flann Campbell has resigned from the Party.

Then on November 21 1956 CDG recorded that he had heard from Cathal Mac Liam, who had recently returned to Dublin from London to avoid conscription, that I had managed to get him a job in the Advanced Studies, presumably as a technician. Either this was a false trail, or he did not take it up, because I don't remember it. Perhaps I tried. In the end he got an electronics job with Unidare. The IWL was still cold-shouldering Mac Liam. He was worried about Hungary: '..can any ends ever justify such means?' Justin Keating added a footnote to the effect that the Dublin Labour movement has collapsed, including the Left. CDG: '...Roy is closer to the IWL, never having lived in England. He can get nothing out of Nolan but "we're in for hard times". The hoodlums who smashed the shop have been fined and made pay damages. As for the North, Roy's acid Protestant wit came into full play. When some Party activist held an open air meeting Falls Road and Shankill Road hooligans combined to attack him. "Working-class unity at last" says Roy..'.

On November 29 CDG arrived in Belfast, on what amounted to a damage-limitation tour of the Irish left, triggered by the Hungarian events. He was met by Jack Bennett, and spoke to the CPNI people. There were mentions of Peadar O'Donnell and Anthony Cronin; the latter had gone to Russia with an Irish group at Peadar's instigation, and written it up for the Irish Times. Then on December 2 Greaves went to Dublin, where he encountered the IWL stalwarts: Cathal Mac Liam, Justin Keating, the present writer, Sean Nolan, Micheal O'Riordain, George Jeffares, Sean Mulready. There was much talk of the Eastern European scene. Then he went round the country, meeting with groups of IWL supporters in Waterford: Peter and Biddy O'Connor, Jim Duggan, Gabriel and Mrs Lalor; also in Cork: Jim O'Regan, Cal O'Herlihy, Mrs O'Shea, Con O'Lyhan (sic, perhaps Ó Liatháin), Norman Letchford, Donal and Maire Sheehan. He attempted to encourage some sort of critical Marxist analysis of the current Irish situation, despite what went on in Hungary. There was no precise record about what this analysis was, but I remember him pacing up and down in our house in Sandymount, delivering what must have been a dry run for his position statement, which depended on a virtual historical analogy, and it ran something like this:

"Imagine that a socialist Britain had been in a war with the capitalist US, and had driven the US out of Ireland, installing a government in Ireland composed of the current Irish Workers League leadership. Imagine that the Irish people had risen against this imposed government, with US aid, and that the British had again intervened to suppress the rising, and installed another imposed government, this time selecting their people a bit better. Which side would we be on?"

One can indeed see the difficulty of the position of the Left!

The Unemployed Movement

On February 15 1957 I looked in on Desmond Greaves in London, having been to Bristol and Harwell on DIAS business, and decided to make an opportunistic visit to the metropolis. I filled him in on the Dublin unemployed movement; Sam Nolan, then an Irish Workers League activist and subsequently a leading trade unionist and Chairman of the Dublin Trades Council, was the leading figure. Greaves recorded what I told him, adding comments: '...That two-faced scoundrel Peadar O'Donnell is intriguing with them.... he received a deputation from them in the Shelbourne, and advised them to confine their demands to that for "work", and put up a candidate in Dublin South Central, where Sinn Fein might rob FF of votes.... The lads demurred. Where was the money to come from? Peadar assured them that the money would be available...'. CDG immediately pounced on this: it must have come from Fianna Fail.

It seems I spent the weekend in London and returned on Monday 18th, having probably observed the Sunday Hyde Park meeting. It is however noteworthy that it was even then Fianna Fail practice to put up money for movements which were alternatives to the development of a political left. The journal continues, mostly concerned with CA business, until CDG's next visit to Dublin:

On March 4 1957 CDG stayed with us in Sandymount. He came over to primarily on his Connolly research, but also took advantage of the visit to observe the election, and attend some of the rallies, including that of the unemployed, in his capacity as Irish Democrat editor. Meeting Jim Collins at the Dublin Trades Council he found him gloomy; Labour was in for a trouncing. The unemployed meeting was addressed by Sam Nolan, Steve Mooney (Mairin's brother), Packy Early (a former Connolly Association supporter who had returned to Ireland) and one Liam O'Meara, whom CDG compared to Jim Larkin. He stayed over a few days, meeting Paul O'Higgins, Justin Keating, Desmond Ryan, Cathal and Helga MacLiam. According to PO'H they (ie Sean Nolan and the leading IWL people) were talking of closing down the IWL and opening a non-political bookshop, under the guise of 'reorganising'. Their failure to make any statement on Hungary or on the IRA was due to their being afraid of injuring Ó Riordain's prospects for a trade union position. Later the unemployed movement evolved into a small circle advising Jack Murphy, the unemployed TD. There was talk of a march on the Dail; there was interest from the Trades Council, but Murphy was talking to John Charles McQuaid the Archbishop. The in-group advising Murphy felt that they were losing control. In the end Murphy resigned his Dail seat and emigrated to Canada.

The Embryonic Dublin Left and the Republicans

On May 25 1957 CDG encountered Cyril Murray who turned out to be an IWL member with a Belfast republican background. He has heard of CDG through his being continually attacked by the IWL leadership and wanted to meet him. The perception in IWL circles was that CDG only talked to ex-CA people when in Dublin and never went near the bookshop. The present writer and his wife Mairin were involved in the episode, which took place in Cathal Mac Liam's house in Finglas, where CDG was staying. He preferred to go there so as not to impose on Mairin who was pre-occupied with our firstborn, Una. CDG outlined his thinking on the relative priorities of socialism relative to the achievement of national unity. He picked up a whiff of Murray's 'republican' sentiment, and was critical of the IWL for allowing the 'republican' (CDG's quotes) movement to claim a monopoly of the national question(34).

During the tail-end of this extended Dublin visit, during which CDG's main concern was gathering material for his Connolly book, there was an account of an attempt made by Cyril Murray to open up the debate on 'The Left and the National Question'. On May 27 there was an abortive lunch arrangement with the present writer, Cyril Murray and CDG, to which O'Riordain and Nolan were also invited. O'Riordain declined, but Nolan accepted and then declined. CDG was amused at CM's attempts to broker an encounter. On 29th he called to the bookshop, so he was able to tell CM the next day that he had seen Nolan, much to CM's surprise. Then on June 2 it turned out that Cyril Murray was driving Jack Murphy and Sam Nolan to Cork for an unemployed meeting. Jack had not yet succumbed to the Archbishop's pressure.

Later on June 3 1957 there was an attempted meeting of the IWL which CDG attended; Carmody, Jeffares, Murray, Cathal MacLiam, Mulready and others are there, but no Nolan or O'Riordain, the IWL Chairman and Secretary; the latter couldn't come, and Nolan was said to be sick. Carmody took the chair and proposed an adjournment, since the importance of the topic requires the presence of the leading people. After some heated discussion they adjourned the meeting, but invited CDG to say a few words, which he did, along the lines of calling for unity among all Irish socialists based on agreement reached by free and open discussion. One can understand Murray's frustration; he had clearly worked to set this up, and was upset when the leading people were absent. We clearly have a pathological situation, with apparently CDG 'persona non grata' when in Dublin among the leading elements of the struggling embryonic Left.

Subsequently CDG lunched with Murray, who said that they had 3000 at the Cork unemployed meeting, but no resolution or declaration of policy was passed, 'a regrettable omission'. The next day he called to the bookshop and found Nolan '..extremely affable.. I never knew him like it..'. He went to remark on how the movement was depleted, many key people having emigrated to England.

The Interface between the Left and Civil Society

After the foregoing episode I more or less gave up on trying to work with the Irish Workers' League in the direction of developing a sensible practical 'civil society' approach to the unification of Ireland and establishing social control over the means of production. The orientation of the IWL was totally towards the perceived Eastern utopia. Insofar as they interfaced with broader organisations, they only understood the trade unions; anything else was regarded with suspicion. Their members had absorbed the worst practices of the 'international movement'; for example some of their emigrant members had been engaged in dubious trade union practices in the Electrical Trades Union, which later developed into the election-rigging scandal(35).

Also earlier, in 1956, I had visited Owen Sheehy-Skeffington(36) in hospital, and we had corresponded; the effect of this must have strengthened my resolve to try to find some alternative model than that presented by the USSR, to which the IWL gave unconditional obedience.

I searched around and found things like Tuairim, the 1913 Club and the Plough. The first of these included people like Frank Winder, Donal Barrington, Miriam Hederman and a few others, a handful of intellectual critics of the then current Irish scene. They held occasional meetings in Jury's Hotel, then in Dame St. I remember Frank Winder (later Professor of Biochemistry in TCD, and earlier one of our few UCD contacts, along with Justin Keating, in our 1940s Promethean Society epoch) talking about the role of scientific research in Ireland, and pointing out that it was not necessary to be making great discoveries, but to be enough 'in on' the global network of science to be able to know when a discovery was significant, and to be able to organise locally to profit by it, both scientifically and as regards related technology.

Tuairim organised some meetings around the question of the UCD move to Belfield; they had an alternative vision of allowing UCD and TCD to expand into the Government-occupied ground between their locations, eventually merging, with the Government moving out elsewhere. I don't think they went so far as to urge a Canberra model in Athlone, but that idea was floating around, in the context of a regionalised reconstruction. I remember Frank Mitchell remarking that if they do move to Belfield, then there will be no doubt as to which is Dublin University.

So much for Tuairim; as regards the 1913 Club I never got to go to it; Owen Dudley Edwards was one of the prime movers, as was David Thornley; it attempted to be a radical Labour party think-tank. I applied to join, but was blackballed; it seems they did not approve of my Marxist aura.

The Plough was a monthly paper published by a group of Dr Noel Browne supporters, mostly Labour Party members; the Editor was Maisie McConnell, and May Keating, Justin's mother, was associated. Dr Browne had distanced himself from them, but the group continued and the paper survived from the late 50s up to the early 60s. I contributed some articles on the analysis of capitalism in Ireland, adapted versions of ones I had earlier done for the Irish Democrat. I indicated that the three main groupings in Irish industry were (a) the older firms like Guinness and Jacob which had expanded into Britain, (b) the British firms which had set up in Ireland under Protection, and (c) the State sector, which had taken up socially important areas deemed to be unprofitable. We were feeling our way towards a politics of how to expand the State sector to include areas which the national and imperial bourgeoisies found profitable.

I also got into correspondence with Sean Cronin, who had led initially the 1950s IRA armed campaign, and was then interned. I met him later when he came out. The idea emerged that the politics of a united Ireland needed to be seen as being to the positive advantage of the working people. It was not a military issue, it was a political issue, and those who had been interned as a consequence of the 1950s campaign needed to learn how to treat it politically.

This encounter was followed by further articles in the Plough: I recollect one, 'The Pound and Partition', in which I argued that the all-Ireland nature of the banking system had been an important factor keeping us at parity with sterling, and an all-Ireland economy under a united government could allow the value of its currency to float, giving us a price advantage as an exporter, and an incentive to satisfy as much as possible of the home market with home-produced goods, imports being dearer. In the Plough generally I argued that the Labour movement needed to take the initiative on the national question, and not leave it to the IRA, the sterility of whose campaign was becoming increasingly apparent. In this I was trying to develop the seeds of ideas planted by Greaves earlier, and rejected by the IWL in the Greaves-Murray episode.

DIAS End-game and the Move to London

Unfortunately in September 1960 the DIAS contract came to an end, and Ó Ceallaigh did not renew it. I have yet to discover why this happened; it could have been political pressure, but I have no direct evidence of this; circumstantially it is worth remarking that Japanese physicists like Kuni Imaeda, whose scientific work was marginal and obscure, stayed on indefinitely, while I got marching orders, although we had been pushing at the frontiers quite successfully. By this time however I was in somewhat of a cul-de-sac experimentally. My preferred hypothesis is that Ó Ceallaigh gave me the push for my own good, realising that I was primarily a technologist rather than a scientist, having served my time in the underlying technology of scientific experimentation.

During my last year at DIAS we had been producing masses of multiple scattering measurements, requiring large volumes of trivial calculations. I decided this was worth trying to automate, and to do this I developed what amounted to a small special-purpose computer, after exploring the feasibility of using the HEC in the Sugar Company, which we had used earlier for curve-fitting. The data-preparation load would however have been impracticable. We needed something like an adding machine, into which we could quickly type in a sequence of numbers, and the computer would need to come up with the total of the moduli of the second differences. The average value of these could be used to calculate the momentum of the particle. We did this successfully, using electronic components which were to hand, and the project formed the basis for a paper subsequently published(37).

However, having been given marching orders, I made a few enquiries; I contacted Leo the pioneering computer firm, and one or two scientific instrumentation firms in England; I looked at medical physics, but none was suitably located. If we were going to England I wanted to be in reach of where the Irish situation was focusing political effort: the Connolly Association in London, where Desmond Greaves was beginning to come up with the 'civil rights' approach to the Northern question. Just like my father, I was obsessed with the negative effects of Partition, which had produced the Catholic-hegemonist environment in the 'republic' within which critical thought was decidedly unwelcome, and the obverse Protestant-hegemonist northern scene. It had to be London.

Then by chance the managing director of Guinness Dublin made some public statement about science in industry, and I wrote to him, looking for a job. He invited me to lunch with himself and the Head Brewer. I was offered a job with a new Production Research Department then being set up, in Park Royal in West London. In Guinness the science was in Dublin, and was dominated by brewing chemistry and yeast biology, but technological development was in Park Royal, presumably so as to be accessible by suppliers; this made sense given the backward technological infrastructure in Ireland. So in the autumn of 1960 I set off to London, initially on my own, to find a place where we could live; we decided we would hang on to the house in Belgrave Road, and find a tenant for it.

Initially I stayed in a Quaker vegetarian guest-house in London where Anthony Coughlan lived at the time; he fixed me up with the contact. Brian Farrington was returning to France in his 2CV, and we chugged down the A5 from Holyhead at a leisurely pace, heavily burdened with my stuff; he dropped me off in Anthony's place in Ladbroke Grove. From this I went to work in Park Royal by a rather complicated bus-route. I borrowed Desmond Greaves's bike and went flat-hunting; I put out enquiries also on the Connolly Association network, and on the Communist Party network. The latter came up trumps with Bardy Tyrrell's place in Hammersmith; she was an upper-crust curmudgeon who was a Party supporter. So Mairin, Una and Fergus were able to come over in or about November 1960, and our period in London began.

Notes and References

1. I have given more detail in my abstracts of political experience in this period in the 1950s political module.

2. This review occurred in the context of the impact of the Lysenko episode. Russian pioneering work in the field of soil science, which is internationally recognised (Russian technical terms like 'podzol' relating to soil typology having been accepted in the vocabulary), helped to provide a background which enabled Lysenko to gain some degree of credibility.

3. I have made some abstracts from the Desmond Greaves Diaries for the 1950s where they relate to developments in Ireland, by courtesy of Anthony Coughlan in TCD, who is prepared to waive his copyright subject to check for accuracy.

4. I have embedded some documentation which tells the full story of this episode in the 1950s political module of the hypertext.

5. RB McDowell, in his Trinity College 1592-1952, claimed that the average age of the Board members was 73 and the youngest was 67; this latter figure however is incorrect, as JJ at that time was 61, still the 'enfant terrible' who gave so much attention to extra-curricular activity; he was a reluctant gerontocrat, and had been in the reform camp for decades, though perhaps too early there. I give a blow by blow account of JJ's interaction with the TCD Board in the 1950s module of this thread of the hypertext, which is overviewed in Appendix 2.

6. JJ was President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society from December 1950 and he contributed two papers during his presidency, the second on February 5 1953 being a survey of the global macro-economic scene, entitled Economic Leviathans. Later in the decade he fell out with the new wave of econometric specialists, who were inclined to dismiss his work as philosophical and anecdotal.

7. JJ had become President of the Irish Association ('for social, economic and cultural relations'), succeeding Lord Charlemont the founding President in 1946. His period as President is however very poorly documented. The Kilkenny Debates of 1954, in which Hubert Butler had a hand locally, was a high point of his Presidency, being the first time politicians from both parts of Ireland had appeared on the same platform. I have summarised the Irish Association thread in Appendix 9, and some details of the debates are given in the 1950s module of that thread.

8. This keynote paper was published with the title Berkeley's Influence as an Economist in Hermathena Vol LXXXII p76, 1953; I have reproduced it in full in the hypertext.

9. I give some background to the James Douglas encounter in the context of possible re-election on one of the non-university panels in the late 1940s module of the hypertext Seanad notes. My father made 31 speeches in the Seanad between April 1951 and July 1954. I have abstracted this record and it is available in the support documentation, along with his first and last speeches given in full.

10. I have reproduced this article from the Horace Plunkett Centenary Handbook (National Co-operative Council, 1954) in the 1950s Plunkett module of the hypertext. Other contributors to the Handbook included Louie Bennett, the pioneer feminist trade unionist, and 'Rex McGall' or Deasun Breathnach, subsequently a contributor to, and perhaps for a time editor of, an Phoblacht the Provisional paper during the 1970s. For most of this period I was in France, and I had no idea how JJ's politics was developing; it is to my eternal regret that my father and I did not interact more intensively during that epoch. The reportage of the Plunkett commemoration event was picked up by Brian Farrell in his TV series which ran during the year 2000, and was each day dedicated to identifying what happened of significance on that day during the previous century.

11. His Sickness of the Irish Economy was published by the Irish Association, with some modest industrial sponsorship, and a preface by Sir Graham Larmour, his successor as President of that body. I have reproduced it in full in the hypertext.

12. This move also decoupled him somewhat from contact with the family, and left my mother isolated; I treat this in the 1950s family module in the hypertext.

13. He reported this experiment at a 'Symposium on Economic Development' organised by the SSISI in response to the 1957 Whitaker White Paper, which included contributions from Donal Nevin of the Irish TUC, and Labhras Ó Nuallain, the Galway economist, who had written on the finances of Partition.

14. JJ's 1913 book Civil War in Ulster appealing for non-violence in Irish politics was re-published in 1999 by UCD Press, and is available in full in the hypertext with their permission.

15. This paper is to be found in JSSISI xix pt 1, 42, 1952-3; I have summarised it in the 1950s SSISI hypertext module.

16. This would have been my cousin Alan Johnston, who at that time ran a farm near Kildangan. I suspect that JJ's move to Grattan Lodge in the 1950s was influenced by a desire to be a neighbour of Alan, and to access his experience of practical farming matters. See the 1950s family module of the hypertext.

17. His source was Michael Davitt and the British Labour Movement by Professor TW Moody of Trinity College.

18. In the event he managed to get a second 'swan song' on July 7, which I reproduce in full in the hypertext, as well as summarising here.

19. Hubert Butler (1900-1991) was a Kilkenny Protestant landowner, with an estate near Bennetsbridge; he travelled widely in central and eastern Europe and spoke many languages, writing up his experiences in essays published somewhat obscurely at the time. He fulfilled a gadfly political role. In his 80s he was 'discovered' by Antony Farrell and his collected works have been published to some acclaim by Lilliput Press. I am indebted to Prionnsias Ó Drisceoil, the Arts Education Organiser for the South-East, based in Kilkenny, for unearthing the Kilkenny People report, dated 22/04/54, of this Partition debate in which JJ and the Irish Association had a hand in organising, and at which JJ spoke.

20. Eoin ('the Pope') O'Mahony was an itinerant Cork barrister, who knew, or appeared to know, the seed, breed and generation of everyone in Ireland. He was good company, a great conversationalist, and in demand for public occasions. He had played a role in the campaign for the release of the IRA prisoners in the late 1940s.

21. Arnold Marsh, a Quaker schoolteacher, wrote a book entitled 'Full Employment in Ireland' in or about 1946; he was influential in the Labour Party at the time.

22. I picked this up from a reference in JJ's subsequent book Why Ireland Needs the Common Market (Mercier Press, Cork, 1962); in Ch8, p97 he recorded the 'envious admiration' of the visiting group of Northern businessmen and politicians. There is, alas, no record of this episode in the Irish Association archive in the NI Public Record Office, nor of the Kilkenny debate, nor indeed of any events connected with JJ's Presidency.

23. The article in full, and the table of contents of the Handbook, are reproduced in the 1950s Plunkett module of the hypertext.

24. This is explicitly treated in Donal McCartney's 'UCD, a National Idea', published by Gill & MacMillan in 1999.

25. JJ had made this argument repeatedly in lectures and papers, in the SSISI and elsewhere, over the years from the 1920s.

26. The science and society' problem had been addressed in the writings of the Irish-born Marxist JD Bernal FRS, whose book Science in History, published by Watts (London) in 1954, was influential in the present writer's understanding of the role of science as a catalyst of social change.

27. The Proceedings of the Cosmic Ray Conference in Bagneres de Bigorre, July 1953, was published by the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris. It contains my first scientific publications. I have expanded further on this theme in the 1950s academic module of the hypertext.

28. Evidence for the Nuclear Interaction of a Charged Hyperon Arrested in Photographic Emulsion; RHW Johnston and C Ó Ceallaigh; Phil Mag, ser 7, vol 45, p424, April 1954. There followed a series of some 12 or 13 papers based on the DIAS work; I have outlined this work in greater detail in the 1950s academic module of the hypertext.

29. Investigation of the Strong and Weak Interactions of Positive Heavy Mesons; G Alexander, F Anderson, RHW Johnston, D Keefe, A Kernan, J Losty, A Montwill, C Ó Ceallaigh and M O'Connell; in Proc UN 'Atoms for Peace' Conference, Pergamon Press, 1959.

30. This is a contact point with JJ, who had in a 1947 Seanad speech gone into the history of Dunsink Observatory, on the occasion of its being sold by TCD to DIAS.

31. I had at this time begun to be aware of the 'science and society' cultural gap problem, as instanced in the related 1950s module of the hypertext, where I also begin to treat some socio-technical issues.

32. Some of the conference documentation, including the members of the Executive Committee, is embedded in the 1950s political module, following on the Ballyfermot material.

33. This and the following sections are condensed from my notes on the Desmond Greaves Diaries for the 1950s; these will eventually be accessible in the National Library.

34. This encounter, also recorded in the Desmond Greaves Diaries, was influential in turning my attention towards exploring the political potential of the republican movement as it then was.

35. In Dublin on December 14 1968 CDG recorded in his Diary (Volume 20) encountering the remains of the IWL group who had been so destructive of the CA a decade previously. Carmody (an IWL stalwart) wanted to talk with them, expressing sympathy with Pat O'Neill who had been 'crucified' while in the Electrical Trades Union. According the Greaves '..the "crucifixion" consisted of touring England in a motor-car posting bogus election papers for Haxell. It would be impossible to have the slightest sympathy for anybody involved in that discreditable operation..'. This could perhaps be taken as evidence that the deep-rooted corruption of the USSR-dominated 'international movement' extended in some cases right down to the membership and practice of its component member-parties. Most members of the CPGB and the IWL, in the present writer's experience, were however motivated by an honest desire to achieve a Socialist vision.

36. I contributed some notes to Andrée Sheehy-Skeffington at her request, towards her biography Skeff, published by Lilliput (Dublin, 1991). I have expanded on these in the hypertext, and commented on the Skeff references to our student left in the 1940s. I have also included some of the April 1956 correspondence. The Greaves contacts however were influential in strengthening my interest in the 'national question' and the ending of partition, while the Skeffington contact helped to encourage a critical view of the USSR, and to initiate my distancing from the Irish Workers' League. Greaves, needless to say, had no use for Skeffington.

37. I have expanded on this in the 1960s techno-economic module of the hypertext; the paper was published in the June 1963 issue of Electronic Engineering.

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