Lemass on Ireland's EEC Membership

Influential in founding the Fianna Fáil Party in 1926, Seán Lemass was appointed Minster for Industry and Commerce, when the party entered government in 1932. During the Emergency (1941–5), his portfolio expanded to cover the Ministry of Supplies. In 1945, De Valera nominated him as Tánaiste, and he succeeded De Valera as Taoiseach in 1959. He is remembered for building up Ireland's industry and infrastructure and founded many state bodies to achieve this such as Bord na Móna, Aer Lingus and Irish Shipping.

The Seán Lemass Interviews took place throughout 1967–69. They were conducted by businessman and hotelier, Dermot A. Ryan. Ryan was member of the Fianna Fáil National Executive in the 1960s and Lemass was a director of Ryan’s company, Ryan Hotels, later part of the Gresham Hotel Group. 

Ryan undertook the interviews ‘as a study of the late Sean Lemass’, the ‘only biographical study of Seán Lemass which he [Lemass] arranged himself and for which he provided 300,000 words’ (UCDA P150/3497, letter from Dermot A. Ryan to Éamon de Valera, 26 June 1971).

The tapes and annotated typescripts were deposited in UCD Archives by Aidan O’Connor in 2017 and are now available to consult in our reading room.

The typescript below illustrates Lemass' opinions on membership of the EEC.


UCDA P331/021 pg476-48 Seán Lemass Interviews

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