News & Events

JUDGING LEMASS: THE MEASURE OF THE MAN

By Tom Garvin

Launched at the Royal Irish Academy
29 September 2009

An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, TD with author Tom Garvin

An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, TD with author Tom Garvin

On 29 September 2009, An Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen, TD, launched Judging Lemass: The Measure of the Man by Professor Tom Garvin at the Royal Irish Academy. 

An almost mythical narrative has grown up around Seán Lemass and his short career as Taoiseach from 1959 to 1966. He was responsible for not one, but two economic revolutions in Ireland during his time in the Department of Industry and Commerce. This period marked the beginning of a long process that has transformed the island of Ireland from an agrarian province of the British Isles to a successful developed country which has been seen as a model for many aspirant underdeveloped countries. He instigated a new era in North-South relations and began the overhaul of the educational system. In Judging Lemass, renowned historian, Tom Garvin, introduces the many facets of Seán F. Lemass – a “cusp” figure who ushered in the modern world; a visionary who was imagining a “United States of Europe” since the 1920s; a sharp dresser with a striking “film noir” style; an ex-revolutionary; a city man, who regarded rural Ireland as somewhat alien and agriculture as a drag on economic development; and, above all, the architect of modern Ireland.


Tom Garvin is Emeritus Professor of Politics at UCD and an honorary research fellow at IBIS. He has published extensively on Irish politics, and is the author of The evolution of Irish nationalist politics (Gill and Macmillan, 1981), Nationalist revolutionaries in Ireland 1858-1928 (Clarendon Press, 1987) and 1922: the birth of Irish democracy (Gill and Macmillan, 1996). His Preventing the future: why was Ireland so poor for so long? was published by Gill and Macmillan in 2004. Most recently, his biography of Sean Lemass, Judging Lemass, was published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2009. Tom is at present finishing a book on newspapers and public opinion in 1950s Ireland.

Irish Times article   Irish Independent article
Speech by An Taoiseach  

Image Gallery - Please click on each image to enlarge

IBIS/STRATAGEM SEMINAR

Patterns of Conflict Resolution: How to Draw Lessons from Northern Ireland

Linen Hall Library, Belfast
Thursday, 2 December 2010

From l-r: Quintin Oliver, Jennifer Todd, Dawn Purvis, Bronagh Hinds and Jim Fitzpatrick

From l-r: Quintin Oliver, Jennifer Todd, Dawn Purvis, Bronagh Hinds and Jim Fitzpatrick

This seminar was initiated to build on findings from the ‘Patterns of Resolution' research project. The aim of the seminar was to take the initial findings of the research project and use them as a basis for discussion as to how lessons can be learned and shared with other conflict areas.

Speakers included: Jim Fitzpatrick (BBC) as chair; Bronagh Hinds (DemocraShe); Quintin Oliver (Stratagem); Dawn Purvis, MLA and Jennifer Todd (UCD).

Funding for the event came from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Conflict Resolution Unit of the Dept of Foreign Affairs and the Dept of Foreign Affairs' Reconciliation Fund.


This project builds on research conducted at IBIS on the succession of attempts at conflict resolution in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It uses the Northern Ireland case as a benchmark for comparative sstudy. It builds on existing networks and collaborative partnerships in choosing cases such as Macedonia, the African Great Lakes, the Cote d'Ivoire and the Mindanao region of the Philippines - comparing the succession of attempts at conflict resolution (failed and successful) within each case in order to show the processes which favoured success. It compares these processes between cases to identify the range of patterns of conflict resolution. Rather than applying an Irish model to these cases, the aim is to develop a repertoire of the mechanisms and processes which are combined in different sequences in different forms of conflict and conflict-resolution.


Stratagem is Northern Ireland's first dedicated lobbying company. Founded in 1998, after participating in the GFA Referendum campaign, its team collectively brings 75 years' experience of politics, policy and campaigning from Belfast, Dublin, Westminster, Brussels and Washington. Stratagem's peace and conflict resolution work has taken them and N. Ireland politicians to Baghdad, Kosovo, the Middle East and Colombia.

IBIS ANNUAL CONFERENCE

A Decade of Centenaries: Commemorating Shared History

John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies, UCD
Thursday, 20 May 2010

Professor Jennifer Todd (IBIS), An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, TD and Dr Hugh Brady (UCD President)

Professor Jennifer Todd (IBIS), An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, TD and Dr Hugh Brady (UCD President)

'We are beginning a decade of centenaries, when the main features of political life on this island were set, and it has taken a century to overcome many of the conflicts generated at that time. It is necessary to understand and explain how these conflicts were generated, and to do so in a way that allows all of us, in both parts of the island and indeed in Britain, to move beyond the causes of conflict and to use the experience to help those caught in conflict in other parts of the globe. This is a task that signals the engagement of scholars in the university with issues of public political importance.'

With these words, UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, opened the 2010 IBIS Annual Conference, 'A Decade of Centenaries: Commemorating Shared History'. He then added: 

'The Institute for British Irish Studies (IBIS) was founded ten years ago by Professors Coakley and Laffan precisely to further this project. Here research, teaching, and the needs of public life converge. Here at UCD we are proud that it is the only centre on the island with such a strong cross-border focus, that its importance has been recognised by the Department of the Taoiseach and that it has moved ahead to focus also on the wider comparative and global lessons that can be drawn from conflict and settlement in Northern Ireland – the mission of the Department of Foreign Affairs Conflict Resolution Unit. The annual conference is the most public of the wide range of activities coordinated around IBIS – research, publications, an evening lecture series, an active research cluster of staff, doctoral and post-doctoral fellows who engage both in individual and in larger scale collective research.'

For Dr Brady's welcome address please click here.


IBIS Chair, Sir George Quigley followed the welcome address by offering some reflections on the general theme of commemoration, noting that this decade comes 50 years after the 1960s, which was densely populated with commemorative occasions. Sir George cited the French philosopher Ernest Renan who believed that national solidarity required 'the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories' but who also recognised that, in the interests of preserving that solidarity, the art of forgetting as well as remembering might be necessary.

For Sir George's full speech click here.


The conference took place on Thursday, 20th May at the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies.  Special guest speaker was An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, TD, who stressed the need for all to recognise our shared history in the coming decade. 

'For most of the last century when we looked across the border, we saw and were wary of the 'other',” he said.  “We forced each other into making choices, into defining ourselves in exclusive terms.  We failed to recognise that, even though we have different traditions and perspectives, what we share is much more important than what separates us.'

'We collectively failed to capture the complexity of identities on the island.'

'For too long, we concentrated on our differences.'

'For too long, those differences were magnified.'

'And for too long, the similarities and commonality of our interests were forgotten or ignored.'

'We created separate histories - British and Irish, orange and green, republican, nationalist, unionist, loyalist - deep wells from which we thought we could draw succour,' said An Taoiseach.

'In homes and in schools across this island, we grew up knowing and hearing only one set of stories, singing only one set of songs.'

'Gradually, in recent years, a recognition has emerged that regardless of whether we consider ourselves to be Irish, or British, or both, our history is - inescapably - a shared one.'

'Our island story cannot be accurately viewed or properly understood through a single prism.'

'The events of that formative decade a century ago do not belong exclusively to one tradition or another.'

'They are threads in the tapestry of all our histories.'

For the full speech by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen please go to the Dept of the Taoiseach website.

To view An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen's keynote address,
introduced by Dr Hugh Brady, click on link below