Identity Statement for James Dooge

  • Reference code: IE UCDA P270
  • Title: Papers of Professor James Dooge (1922-2010)
  • Dates: 1948-2003
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 27 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use
  • Allied Material

Biographical History

James Dooge was born in Birkenhead, England in 1922. After his family moved to Dublin he went on to study in University College Dublin, where he was awarded the Pierce Malone Scholarship. Once qualified as an engineer, Dooge worked firstly with the Office of Public Works and then, in 1946, with the Electricity Supply Board. A period of study at the University of Iowa in the mid-1950s led to an MA. In 1958, Dooge became Professor of Civil Engineering at University College Cork and in 1970, he moved to University College Dublin. In the 1980s Dooge also spent time working at the Department of Engineering Hydrology at University College Galway.

Dooge is often credited with turning hydrology into the science it is today, being instrumental in the establishment of the International Commission on Water Resource Systems. He served as its President for several years. As well as being an engineer and hydrologist, he was also a climatologist and served as the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Climate Impact Advisory Committee.

Apart from his illustrious academic career, Dooge led an active political life. From 1961 to 1977 he was a Senator, also serving as the Seanad’s Cathaoirleach (1973–77). Dooge was an influential member of the Fine Gael Party and a close associate of Garret FitzGerald’s, working closely with him in the reorganisation of the Fine Gael Party during the late 1970s. As Cathaoirleach, Dooge was one of the three members of the Presidential Commission, and would be called upon (along with the Chief Justice and the Cathaoirleach of the Dáil) to serve the powers of the President should he or she resign or die. Incredibly, this happened twice during Dooge’s term, firstly with the death of Erskine Childers in 1974, and then with Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh’s resignation in 1976.

Dooge announced his retirement from politics in 1977 to devote more time to his academic career. In 1981, however, he returned to the Seanad. He was a member of the Fine Gael team that negotiated the coalition deal with the Labour Party in 1981, and was subsequently appointed by FitzGerald as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Although many considered him an inspired choice for the role, it was short-lived as the 22nd Dáil lasted for only 252 days. Dooge declined appointment to the new coalition formed in the 1982 general election.

In 1984 a new political role took form for Dooge. Ireland’s Presidency of the European Community coincided with a renewed interest amongst member states for further European integration. At a meeting at Fontainebleau, France in 1984, the decision was made to form an Ad Hoc Committee on Institutional Affairs, to have representatives from all member states convene and look at potential avenues and methods for European integration. FitzGerald decided to appoint Dooge to this Committee, not only as Ireland’s representative but as chairman. This was met with pressure from several other member states for the appointment of someone with a greater international profile, especially from West Germany, who pushed for the appointment of their former President, Karl Carstens. Nonetheless Dooge remained in the position, and the Committee met throughout late 1984 and early 1985 before producing a final report, often referred to as the Dooge Report, in March 1985. This report is credited with paving the way for the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty, with much of the language used in the latter being the same. Dooge maintained his commitment and enthusiasm for European integration after the Ad Hoc Committee with his longstanding membership of the Irish Council for the European Movement, of which he became Honorary President. He also served as President of the Royal Irish Academy from 1987 to 1990.

Dooge received several awards for his work in the fields of engineering and international affairs. In 1986 he was awarded the William Bowie Medal by the American Geophysical Union for ‘outstanding contribution to fundamental geophysics and for unselfish cooperation in research’. The World Meteorological Organization awarded him their highest prize in 2001, the International Meteorological Prize. In 2000 he was made an International Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering, and in 2005 was awarded the Prince Philip Medal by the Duke of Edinburgh in recognition of his status as ‘an outstanding figure in the field of hydrology’. Also in 2005, the Royal Irish Academy awarded him their gold medal, presented by President Mary McAleese. 

Jim Dooge died at home in Dublin on 20 August 2010. Predeceased by his wife Roni and daughter Meliosa, he was survived by his sons Colm and Diarmuid, and daughters Clíona and Dara.

Archival History

This collection was deposited in UCD Archives by Professor Dooge in five tranches between 1987 and 1989, with the sixth and final tranche deposited by his family in 2012.

Scope and Content

Dooge’s Senate career, 1961–77 and 1981–87: election material, documents relating to Senate debates on extradition and on Senate reform.

Papers relating to Dooge’s chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Committee for Institutional Affairs to the European Council (also referred to as the Dooge Committee), including:

Background material provided by various sources to Dooge for research purposes after he had been asked to head the Committee, including documents relating to prior committees asked to look at the same issues; establishment of the Committee; reports and notes of meetings of the Committee; working documents, consisting mainly of submissions from Committee members; documents relating to the issue of Irish neutrality in the context of the Committee’s work; and the report of the Committee and reactions to same. An initial survey of this material was completed by Dermot Scott in 1993, and several files with the designation ‘DC’ (Dooge Committee) were created.

Papers relating to Dooge’s tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs (MFA), 1981–82, including:

Anglo-Irish relations: Anglo-Irish Joint Studies; briefing documents prepared for the MFA by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ahead of meetings with British officials; background information, notes, reports and correspondence relating to the 1981 hunger strikes; agendas, papers and memoranda for the Northern Ireland Policy Review Conferences; other general Northern Ireland matters.

Ireland and the European Community: briefing documents, minutes and notes of the European Council meeting in November 1981; briefs and notes relating to European cooperation and to Irish neutrality.

Ministerial meetings: material relating to meetings of the Security Committee; general notes taken by the MFA at various meetings.

Other DFA concerns: general concerns such as routine inter-departmental briefings and briefs on international situations; correspondence with Ambassadors and embassies (these were numbered 1–41 and this arrangement has been retained, although some documents are missing); papers relating to development aid; papers relating to Irish submissions and involvement at the United Nations, mainly the General Assembly.

Ministerial correspondence, mainly letters of congratulations on Dooge’s appointment as MFA. This file has been kept in its original order.

Ministerial speeches.

Fine Gael, 1948–87: general party reports; policy documents; election materials and notes; some party constitutional material.

Irish Council for the European Movement (ICEM), 1963–2003: minutes and invitations to meetings; reports by ICEM and other relative documents; papers relating to events planned by ICEM; materials produced by ICEM for European elections and treaty referenda; general correspondence.

  • Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCD Archives reader’s ticket. Produced for consultation in digital format.
  • Language: English
  • Finding aid: Descriptive Catalogue