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Conor K. Ward | 23rd June 1930 - 18th July 2021

Conor K. Ward, BA, BD, STL, PhD (Liverpool)

Born 23rd June 1930; died 18th July 2021

Conor Ward

The death has occurred of Monsignor Conor K. Ward, former Professor of Social Science at University College Dublin. Gentleness and kindness were the words most frequently used at his funeral Mass at St Brigid’s Church Cabinteely, where Archbishop Dermot Farrell recalled Conor Ward’s contribution to the sociology of religion, his academic career and his contribution to the development of the (opens in a new window)University of Bethlehem.

Professor Ward was born in 1930, the eldest of five children, in Rush in Co. Dublin, to Thomas and Kathleen Ward (née Monks). His father was a civil servant and had degrees in agriculture and science. He died in 1941 a few months before Conor’s 11th birthday. His mother Kathleen, with help from extended family ensured that Conor and his siblings availed of every opportunity to pursue educational aspirations. A younger brother Tom died in a football accident in 1954.

Conor won scholarships to secondary school ((opens in a new window)St Macartan’s, Monaghan) and to university. At University College Dublin, he took the BA Degree in Philosophy and Politics in 1950. Ordained priest in 1953, he was a student at the Pontifical University, Rome from 1950 to 1954 and gained the degrees of BD and STL, both with First Class Honours. After ordination, he held a number of chaplaincies for two years. Hoping to be appointed to serve in a parish in a deprived area, he was, instead, sent by Archbishop John McQuaid to study Sociology at the (opens in a new window)University of Liverpool. He was awarded a PhD Degree 1959. His PhD thesis formed the basis of a book, Priests and People, which was innovative in the development of Sociology of Religion as an academic speciality.  

He was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Social Science in University College Dublin where he spent thirty-two years working tirelessly in building up the Social Science Department. He transformed the teaching of Sociology in University College Dublin, establishing it on a firm empirical and theoretical basis. With colleagues he established the Social Science Research Centre in 1961, which developed a substantial policy-oriented research programme. Among the Research Projects, directed by Conor Ward were: Manpower in a Developing Community (1967) for the Department of Labour; New Homes (1968) for An Foras Forbartha; and New Homes for Old (1969) for the Irish National Productivity Committee. In addition to their substantive significance these research projects provided valuable training for young Social Science graduates many of whom became distinguished researchers and academics. The Drogheda Manpower Study, in particular, was a ground-breaking achievement in the Ireland of its day as it was widely believed at that time that such survey methods would not work in Ireland. This study proved them wrong and has led to a strong ‘industry’ of social and market research which have contributed to the modernisation of Irish society. His strong emphasis on empiricism influenced a generation of social scientists.

In addition to his contribution to teaching and research Professor Ward took on a range of administrative and leadership roles and served on a wide range of advisory committees. He was a member of the President’s Committee which prepared the UCD Development Plan in 1986. He was Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology at UCD 1988-1991.In the wider community Professor Ward made many important contributions. He was chairman of the Dublin Institute of Adult Education in Mountjoy Square for many years. He served on the Executive Committee of the (opens in a new window)Economic and Social Research Institute, on the (opens in a new window)Committee for Economic and Social Science of the Royal Irish Academy, on the (opens in a new window)Irish Council of Churches/Roman Catholic Joint Group for the Study of Social Problems, and on the Board of the first Irish/EC Combat Poverty Programme.

Abroad, Professor Ward was very much involved in the EC as expert and rapporteur to the Economic and Social Committee, and as an Irish adviser on the FAST/Monitor Programme (DG XII) for which he coordinated the Research Project, World and Local Technologies. His contribution, together with that of the late Tomás Roseingrave, was especially influential in securing EU funding for international collaborative social research. This research has contributed to the development of the social and policy sciences.  

He was also an active participant in the (opens in a new window)International Social Survey Programme which carries out comparative social research projects (currently) in 42 countries. He negotiated Ireland’s participation in this programme which in its early years was funded by the late Prof Andrew Greeley, an Irish American priest sociologist who shared his commitment to the use of empirical studies to help understand social issues.

Professor Ward was the first coordinator of the UCD-EC Bethlehem University project on the West Bank working with fellow UCD scientist, Dr. Colette Dowling. This was a highly important development for this institution, as attested in the special award he received and in the citation which reads: ‘For many years now you have visited us at least twice yearly. You used your Irish wit, wisdom and academic experience to encourage and prod us along the way of improvements. You have also formed deep friendships here....’. Although founded as a Catholic University in 1973 Bethlehem catered for Palestinian nationals of all creeds and was frequently subject to closures by Israeli forces. These often coincided with the arrival of the Irish coordinators.

For many years he spent almost all his waking hours in UCD. He had a strong collegial spirit and saw the value of cooperation and coordination in many fields. He established cooperative teaching arrangements with the faculty of Commerce, which enabled Social Science students to study industrial relations as part of their B.Soc.Sc. degree and provided teaching in Survey Methods to Business Studies students. He encouraged innovation both in departmental structures and academic disciplines. In the case of his own original Department of Social Science, he facilitated its division into two separate Departments (now termed Schools) of Sociology and Social Policy and Social Work. He played a key role in facilitating the development of the discipline of Equality Studies led by one of his own graduates, Professor Kathleen Lynch. This new field has since been replicated in universities internationally. He was also supportive of other new developments such as Women’s Studies and was very supportive of women staff.

For many years Imogen Stuart’s sculpture of Pangur Bán was positioned beside the stairway which led to Conor’s office at UCD. He viewed himself as a link in the chain of Irish intellectual priests and loved to quote the poem in its English translation:

I and Pangur Bán, my cat,

‘Tis a like task we are at

Hunting mice is his delight

Hunting words, I sit all night.

Conor Ward was a member of a cohort of intellectual priests from the archdiocese of Dublin who contributed to the shaping of modern Ireland. His distinguished contribution to development of the Social Sciences disciplines and to the application of this knowledge in the service of society ranks with that of the Radharc team which helped shape Irish television and others who worked as adult education innovators.  

In the early years of his retirement, he was appointed to the parishes of (opens in a new window)Clonskeagh and (opens in a new window)Cabinteely. His ties with Bethlehem led him to study sacred places and he led pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Cappadocia which were greatly appreciated by parishioners, some of whom travelled on every trip!

Conor Ward was predeceased by his parents, brothers, Tom and Iral and sister Evelyn. He is survived by his sister, Emer (O’Mahoney), brothers-in-law, Malachi and Dermot, sister-in-law, Madge, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Conor Ward with UCD Colleagues in 1984

Conor Ward (back row, third from left) with colleagues from the UCD Department of Social Science on Belfield campus in 1984

An interview with Professor Ward

Here you can hear Professor Ward reflecting on his experiences as a Sociologist. 

Comments and memories from Conor Ward's former students at UCD

I was a student in UCD in the 70's. I remember being called to Conor's office for feedback on an essay, absolutely terrified of what I would hear but he was so supportive, constructive and kind to a nervous first year student. It always felt that students were at the heart of his role in UCD, now we would call it student centered.Conor also seemed to remember students long after they left the university. A few years after I graduated, he gave me my first opportunity to work in UCD as a Sociology tutor. He had a way of being inclusive and positive and as I got to know him as a colleague I began to understand that these were not just personality traits but they were part of his view of the world and he worked towards a world that valued and included everyone. 

Dr Hilda Loughran

Associate Professor, Fellow in Teaching and Academic Development, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, UCD


I was very sorry to hear about the death of Conor Ward. He was an inspirational figure to me as an undergraduate in Social Science and when I did my Master's Degree in the early 1970s. He was a kind, generous and encouraging man. He was a teacher, mentor and friend. He did a lot to promote the importance of social research in the Department. I learned a lot from him and remain grateful to him for what I received. 

Margaret Sheehan


I remember him as a gentle and thoughtful Head of School when I was there in 1981-84 when I graduated with a B.Soc.Sc


Una Redmond


I studied for my primary degree in Social Science at UCD 1968-1971, and my tutor was Prof Ward. My main subject was Sociology, and my contact with Prof Ward involved Social Research primarily. I thoroughly respected Prof Ward, and valued the very focused sessions I had available to me at the time. He was always friendly with a ready smile, and always very effective and efficient in getting to the nexus of the work in hand. I always considered him credible and professional, one from whom I could learn substantially. He was also good at handling question & answer tutorials, meetings I made certain to prepare well for, and thinking things through as far as possible in advance. With Sociology, this was always a challenge, as it is in the area of the Humanities, and not “pure science” so to speak. Sociology was rather a “new subject” at that time, spanning a broad sweep of relevant areas of other subjects, and developing rapidly. One had to read broadly, and still distill that which could truly belong to Sociology. Specifically, social research had to be measureable and verifiable; correlations had to be identified that were truly “causative correlations”; clarity on statistical significance, and confidence levels in research had to be reached. Prof. Ward extracted clarity out of all of this for us.

An honorable, upright person, worthy of our respect, and remembered with affection.

Carmel Buttimer with Conor Ward at a class reunion

Carmel Buttimer with Conor Ward at a class reunion (photo credit: Carmel Buttimer)


I started in Social Science in UCD in 1973. I was the first student to go directly after Leaving cert from my old Alma Mater St Macartans College Monaghan. This was the same school Conor attended as did the late Des McCluskey. Both gave me a warm welcome when I arrived. My memory of Conor was his warm gentle presence. Go bhfanfaidh se i suaimhneas. 

Christopher Sheridan, Class of 1976.


So sorry to hear of Dr Ward's passing. He was a very kind and gentle man. I studied Social Science from 1980 to 1983, and he was Head at the time. He later helped me apply for a sociology scholarship to study in Copenhagen.

Condolences to his family and friends.

Carmel Ennis


Dr Conor Ward I remember well. He was just appointed to the college when I was doing a B.Soc.Sc. A refreshing, vibrant lecturer one would not forget. Solas na bhflaitheas air agus go gcumhdai na haingle é.

Aoife Ni Thiarnaigh


When I was a master's student in his Department, Conor took the time to advise me to do a PhD outside Ireland and explained how I might obtain funding. When I opted to undertake doctoral studies at Oxford University Conor made introductions that opened doors. I owe him a great deal and extend my sympathy to his family and former colleagues.

Bill Roche, Social Science graduating class of 1977


I am very sad to hear about the passing of Conor. May his gentle soul rest in peace.

I am very grateful to Conor for several reasons.

The first is that he was a wonderful mentor and friend to me and helped to sow the seed for loving research which has continued today.

However, I am really grateful to him as he was instrumental in me working in All Hallows College both part time and full-time over 23 happy years.

In the early 90's Sr Moya Curran (RIP) set up an innovative degree programme for Pastoral Leadership in All Hallows College. She contacted her friend Conor in UCD and asked if he could provide a lecturer in Sociology  in the new programme. This then developed into Research for the students' Masters Degree which then developed into PhD degrees when All Hallows became a College of DCU.

At the 10 year anniversary celebration of the first cohort of Pastoral Leadership degree students, Sr, Moya gave a speech where she told everyone in attendance that I had arrived in All Hallows Staff due to a mistake!!! This was the first time I had heard this! Apparently Conor told Sr Moya that he would recommend a person called Fitzpatrick. As you may remember, both Maire (Ni Ghiolla Phadraig) and myself (married name Fitzpatrick) were classmates and friends (both in Social Research) and so due to some confusion I was the lucky Fitzpatrick to arrive in All Hallows.

I will remain eternally grateful to Conor for those great 23 years.

Marjorie Fitzpatrick  PhD


It was with great sadness that I learnt of the recent passing of Monsignor Conor Ward.  I first met Conor when I was a social science student in the 1970s. Conor was a wonderful professor.  He had a sensitive and warm approach to people. He was so calm and unflappable and exuded kindness and gentleness. He took a personal and keen interest in the students’ welfare and progress and was always available to offer guidance and support.

Conor had all the attributes of a wonderful mentor. He was a great listener, was knowledgeable, willing to give candid feedback and open to using his contacts when needed. I will always value the guidance that he gave me when it came to considering postgraduate options and the keen interest that he took in my progress. I owe him so much in terms of my career progression over the years.

In more recent years, Conor involved me in his development work with Bethlehem University. For me, the time - albeit short - spent in Bethlehem University was one of the most rewarding periods of my academic career. It was clear from talking to the people in the University just how much Conor invested in helping the University fulfil its mission in what were very difficult circumstances.

Conor will be sadly missed by all those who were lucky enough to have come under his wing. He was many things but, above all else, he was a lovely man.  May he rest in peace.

Geraldine O’Brien

If you are a former UCD student and would like to join the Alumni Network, you can do so (opens in a new window)here


There are differences between this written record and the Transcript of this recording.  This was to facilitate readability and to give background/explanation of our ‘implicit communication’ through our shared understanding of some of the topics covered.  The transcript was typed by a third party and there were errors due to less audibility of some of the conversation which have been corrected.

Your publication Priests and People was extremely important in relation to both the Sociology of Religion and to Sociology in Ireland… it was your PhD but it was also I suppose one of the first academic publications in Sociology by an Irish Sociologist, would that be correct? Possibly the first?

I’d say it was. Well it was the first certainly by anyone with say a formal qualification in Sociology, if you put it that way.


So Conor, you were ordained as the Priest of the Archdioceses of Dublin and after ordination, if I remember rightly, you, at one stage, were hoping for an appointment to a parish and to work among poor people and so forth and found yourself being sent to Liverpool to study Sociology instead.  Archbishop McQuaid, I suppose was far sighted in a lot of ways in spotting new disciplines that were important for a priest to be aware of and you were one of the people that he selected to have that kind of education.

Yes, that was true. That would have been a year after I had returned from my studies abroad and it was by pure chance that he came across me that he was thinking of this and so I went to Liverpool. He thought of it a little late in the year so with interesting complications he said there is a course you should do. And I expected I would have to start with a BA since I had no Sociology but the application date for undergraduates was over – no way I could possibly be accepted so they accepted me instead on the basis of my UCD degree to do a pre Masters degree programme and I suppose that’s what changed things.

So you were moved from that on to a PhD programme then without actually receiving a Masters in Sociology.

Exactly, yeah.

And that was unusual indeed given that you had no previous undergraduate experience in a Sociology role. Philosophy and Theology would have helped you cope.

Perhaps to some extent – well the fact that I was only a year from being a student probably helped even though by then I’d been through quite a few universities of different types. So it was good I suppose in the way that it changed from being a BA into something that changed my life because it meant that I arrived back at a point where UCD was very short on the people trying to teach the new evening degree programme [in Social Science].

That was a degree that was set up as part of the department of Social Science which was mainly Social Work – would that be correct – Agnes Maguire?

No it wouldn’t actually be accurate to talk about a department. There was no department. Tom Kettle’s attempts to get a department set up back when the university was being set up got as far as the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology when he was killed in Flanders in the First World War and the university did nothing about it – in fact almost forgot the Sociology part of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology. Agnes Maguire came in with a [Social Science] Diploma which was of no particular statutory arrangement and she was working in the top of Newman House. When Jim Kavanagh [first Professor of Social Science and later ordained an auxiliary bishop] came back from Cambridge, he was to help with this new evening degree which had been set up. Now the evening degree I think was [introduced in] ’53 or thereabouts and I think it was about ’56 when he came back and he was asked to join the UCD staff in the role of the then Temporary Assistant and the most cognate Department was judged to be Ethics and Politics so he was appointed to that. And when I had completed my PhD I was asked to similarly join the UCD staff on a temporary basis probably for two or three years as I was told and similarly was appointed to Ethics and Politics so I got the two digits right anyhow – I stayed 32.

You were probably the first Irish person actually to receive your PhD in Sociology – certainly to return to Ireland anyway.

Probably. I haven’t met anybody who was ahead of me in that strict sense entirely and Damian Hannanwas the next person.

In the mid sixties I think – came back from the States with a PhD.

Yes he did his study on emigrants in Cavan as far as I remember and it had been expected that there might be other people but there was no career future in Sociology in university or anywhere else at that stage so that it was only people like priests who could do it or the absolute enthusiasts like Damian who struggled his way through it.

In fact there was a very strong strand of association of Sociology with Roman Catholic Priests in Ireland and there was a Chair of Catholic Sociology in Maynooth – was that correct?

Yes, I don’t think that was the title of it actually. I think it could have been Sociology and something and it was also part of the French type influence as the whole way it was. I can’t assume that everyone would know that the British government funded Maynooth because they were afraid of the French Revolution and its impact. You probably know that. So that they did carry something in. But it again had been almost taken into Philosophy in a sense which of course is a good tradition in Sociology as well.

And has been rediscovered on various occasions.


And Monsignor McKevitt I think was the Chair for a while.

He did. But Liam Ryan would have been the first person who would have come in with Sociology in our sense of the times.

Yes. I think the ESRI was originally called the Economic Research Institute.

Yes, that’s correct.

And then was it Damian Hannan’s appointment that turned it into Economic and Social?

No, we’d have to check dates and that but I don’t think that was the order of the thing. I can recall a working party on the subject of adding in the Social at a point where I think most certainly preceded Damian and Damian would have been the appointment that followed from that. But it was – it became an Economic and Social Research Institute I think before they had managed to find many people for the “Social” [aspect]. If anything the Social Medicine would have been [the more appropriate term]

The Statistical Society there would have been interested in the social aspect.

Very. The Statistical and Social Enquiry Society which in its foundation had references that would be [Social] and a sequence at least [periodic data collection]. The real drive came from a man whose name I’ve forgotten at the moment [Roy Geary] who was involved in the Central Statistics Office and subsequently in Cork[?]. But the appointment to the Social side was medical. Social Medicine.


These are names we could find.

Exactly, yes.  I’m trying to gather a bit of the picture of the context in which the Sociological Association of Ireland was actually founded. That would have come, if my memory is correct, about 1970.

Yeah, I think this is where one could say that the arrangements for Social Work in the Diploma in Newman House did have an influence because there was working association with Queens University – not so much working association as kind of an annual get together with Queens that which then having expanded, had too much diversity in it for coherence but the idea I think might have just come from that sort of getting together.

And that would have prompted the setting up of the evening degree in Social Science?

No, I don’t think so, no. I wasn’t around when the evening degree was set up.

’53, yeah?

My memory which, once upon a time, may have been knowledge would have been that that would have been set up as part of a drive for adult education – provisional second chance opportunity for evening degrees – and would at that time certainly have been regarded as a very poor second best to a [day] degree. So you then had an evening degree and a [day] diploma – totally different in their content and approach. I don’t remember now whether it was subsequent to my arrival – certainly it would have been around about it and the regulation was a most peculiar one which I can’t remember now except that there were two different age barriers and even though you might be under the age for admission as a mature student in those days – if you had been admitted to the Diploma which had its own age barrier, you then could take the degree as well as the Diploma or some such complicated thing.

But you couldn’t go straight into the degree?

You could go in simultaneously.

But if you hadn’t even registered for the Diploma….

Unless you were a couple of years older. And the age for the Diploma was higher than the age for undergraduates doing degrees. Which was a help because that meant that the situation obviously needed review and discussion and was part of what was used to get the process of having a day degree underway.

So for a number of years you were actually the sole sociologist on the UCD staff?

Yes in a way but Jim Kavanagh also made a major contribution in terms of theory.

He used to combine both roles [Sociology and Social Administration] if I remember rightly?


It was a pretty heavy teaching load. I think you were involved both in the Degree and the Diploma.

It certainly was heavy and required considerable ingenuity to manage it because he and I both wanted to bring in something other than just lectures – the net result of which was that we would have three to four little seminar groups as it were – discussion groups – all in the same room at the same time. And it actually turned out to be a great idea because it meant then that each group of whatever number it was had to use their own initiative and indeed manage themselves to a great extent and it was better in fact than if you’d had a tutorial type situation in my biased opinion.

That’s interesting that that has been rediscovered as what they call Problem Based Learning and is very much counted as one of the fashions in teaching now. You should have copyrighted at the time!  Sociology then was available in the day degree from the mid 1960s onwards.

The day degree was created – I don’t think it was as early as the mid 1960s. Oh sorry, I’ve got it wrong. It was earlier than the mid 1960s. It would have been about ’62 or ’63 I’d say.

I think despite your heavy teaching load, you also had a definite vision of what could be achieved through sociology for Ireland. It was at a very pivotal time for Ireland that your appointment was made. It actually coincided with it that you came in ’59, the first programme for Economic Development was 1958 and the second Vatican Council was 1960  I think, was it?

Yes, ’60/’62. ’62 I’d say.

So there were huge changes underway in what had been a fairly static situation I suppose.

Yeah and Paddy Lynch [Department of Political Economics, UCD, later Professor] who was central to a number of things including on the government plan – he was a big factor in his interest. I can remember him asking me more or less “Do you think we really could get people to co-operate in one of these surveys in Ireland?” and an awful lot of people were convinced you couldn’t. So in fact Seamus Gallagher who was in Social Medicine and I launched a demonstration project in which we ourselves interviewed in Ballyfermot. In fact, though the name of the place is supposed to be confidential – don’t think it matters much at this stage and we just simply in fact collected the material, proved that people would talk to you and then just hadn’t time to do anything with it. So we thought it was a great idea that we’d say it was a baseline study that some years later would be followed up and filed it all away. And as far as I know nobody has followed it up.

But it’s somewhere in the archives – that’s wonderful.

Oh it’s there.

And then the Drogheda Manpower Survey is the first real survey I think in Ireland – the first piece of social science survey methods on a biggish scale and with planning in mind.

There were some marketing research [projects] beginning to be done at that stage but it was very small scale and the whatever it was called in those days – economic and social committees – again I don’t remember, was where it came from and they did it on the basis [of being a pilot study] and again it was Paddy Lynch who pushed it through.

This would have been set up under [the Government] Department of Industry and Commerce, would that be it?

It was Industry and Commerce – the Department of Labour really emerged if not from it, more or less simultaneously with the results being used – I can’t remember the name of the man who is responsible for nowadays, it’s FÁS – but he was very, very supportive of the whole thing. Actually we probably have some of the documentation of all of these in the [Social Science Research Centre, UCD] office among the Tomás Roseingrave collection. So the Drogheda Manpower Survey that they [Dept of Industry and Commerce] were looking for, was something that would give them an idea of two things – one was what they could do with the unemployed who were unemployable as it was reported and was taken to be the case and secondly there were new industries getting started which I suppose National Policy thought might be decentralized a little bit and then the subcommittee that was appointed to, I suppose, keep an eye on what we were doing, was very willing to talk about things and we expanded it quite a lot to all the different aspects of what the situation was in effect.

Drogheda I think was kind of a blue print for other studies done then in other parts of the country.

Yeah, two more were done similarly getting someone to do them – Tomás Roseingrave and Mary Kelly [UCD] were the two people – one in Waterford and one in Galway. But what we had tried  to do was to develop it in a way that we had pioneered it if you put it that way and used our technical expertise but then other places could do their own and there were a number of those. Dundalk I can recall because it was the first to do it itself because Drogheda was just down the way from it. And there were a number of others who did their own. Partly because the results came out in ways that were practical and useful locally. Notably that the supposed unemployable – I obviously can’t remember the figures now but it would have been something like that only a small proportion of them had been unemployed more than six months or so and of those who we followed up, a very high proportion were reemployed and it was a “gorgeous” situation where the judgment was being made on the basis of what the employers were saying and the people they were getting from the Labour Exchange were unemployable. The Labour Exchange when it got a request from employers for people wanted to test the people who had been longest on its record so they got those people who were unemployable and sent them off to the jobs. So our interviews with the unemployed and recently unemployed were one of the most interesting parts of the study. I’m remembering a lot more of this than I thought I would. That’s the good interviewer you see.

Thanks, Conor. You always have wonderful recall on things even though there was so much packed into your career here without thinking of what you’ve been doing more recently… Now I suppose the degree programme was underway here from the early 1960s and then there were also … sociology was offered in Cork, in Maynooth with Liam Ryan as a more professionally educated sociologist and in the mid 1960s, coming onto 1968 or so, the Sociological Association of Ireland then was set up and you would have been one of the people who was instrumental at that stage in setting it up.

There was a very small group of us I suppose who talked about it a good lot and then got together.

Can you remember who they were, Conor?

Not really but I might be able to find something. I do remember that Cyril White [UCD] was the first secretary – I think he was the first secretary – he was something anyway after we got formal. We met informally for a while and then we met formally to get started.

I seem to remember meeting in the Clarence Hotel. I [as an undergraduate] got brought there because I was being given a lift by you or somebody like that?

I think that [venue] might have been to facilitate the people from Cork coming up or something like that. I think we’d have to find something more to have any kind of precise records. But one chance of course, if I’m right, that might have been when [Damian Hannan?] might have come up from Cork. We met at the Clarence.

Had he gone to Cork at that stage?

I don’t know. I can’t remember.

Your appointment as Professor of Sociology here was in I presume ’73 and had [Damian Hannan?] taken office as Chair in Cork before you?

I don’t think so. Jim Kavanagh was Professor for a few years –

That’s right, he –

– very many [years], it was a long time before we got things established.

As a lecturer, yeah, I think about ’65/’66.

That sounds about right.

It was when I arrived on the scene [as an undergraduate] anyway – ’66.

Well then you can date it right.

But I don’t know how long before that it would have been…

It wasn’t much. If I had been guessing now I’d have said that he’d been a Statutory Lecturer, Head of Department at that stage because the Department didn’t become an independent department immediately the degree was set up and we did have some difficulty with getting credit for our practical work and field work experience, where we used the fact that the Social Work people could have it, to justify surveys which the students gave being part of their accumulated achievements for their degree. I have come across – in my own archives, we’ll call them – the committee report for the new degree so I’ll find that for you.  [Regrettably, this was not followed up by me]

I’d be interested in that. I think in relation to your own work, you got very heavily involved in research in the 1960s and in particular the Manpower studies would have worked on increasing [employment for researchers and also to provide publications] I take it. You also published New Homes and New Homes for Old and you were heavily involved as a researcher.

Yeah and they also would have been….

These kinds of novel projects of what could be done and so on.

Yeah and in effect that was in relation to the – I suppose, the Dublin Corporation policy of rehousing that we thought had its defects to put it mildly and felt that it could do something about that so we did that and that was very early too.

How was that funded?

That one was funded by the Irish Productivity Committee. They gave us something anyway. A bit like even the best funded one would have been the Drogheda one and even that was only partially funded really. It funded the fieldwork there and the analysis in the Department of Labour backed it up. That was the Drogheda one which I delivered to them every day from what we had got written up and then eventually we could give it to them in typescript which they had to put on to the reproduction sheets and things like that and it was a case of doing the delivery down beside the canal every day – the Department of Labour luckily was still there. Luckily it was there because it had been created.

And I’m sure it would be very important to them as a new department as well to kind of establish themselves.

They were very positive. They really were. And we were – I was being very careful I suppose not to make recommendations beyond our competence and consequentially largely was reporting the data plus when [the data] indicated that the presuppositions had been incorrect or [might] give indications towards [a particular conclusion] but we wouldn’t commit ourselves to saying what there should be. We did early on I think help to get the Department of Labour come into being by doing a preliminary report which wasn’t a real one – a private one sort of style to the effect that the need to have major reorganization was going to emerge – that type of thing – through the Economic and Social Committee – whatever it was called at that stage. And there was then some interest in Government Departments and consequently the Department of presumably Local Government and Public Health gave us something towards – I think they contributed a little bit towards putting in the new houses that they were experimenting with – that was people getting small houses first and going to move on to bigger houses was the theory but was not the style. They didn’t ask us about Ballymun but we did give them in passing some suggestions that maybe they ought to take a closer look at the results of the work in similar schemes in Britain and things like that before they rushed into it.

But they rushed into it!

And again, I don’t know whether it was just the things that keep recurring in my mind – different little things like that, like there were always those in the public service who were far sighted and perceptive and then there were others who couldn’t see the reason for these things and when you’d a committee meeting, you didn’t have to do very much because they just simply argued with each other type of thing. But it was very constructive and I was very impressed by the hard work – they really read through the detail of the huge report that we produced on Drogheda, for example, was the one we saw most closely. It wasn’t always the case and there was a good story about our New Homes – one where we were asking among other things the sort of views about the actual structure of the building and when we produced the report we had the architect’s drawing of the houses in the appendix and there was one particular type of house that was continuously criticized and there were very obvious reasons why it should be. So we got as far as actually saying that because we could quote the numbers we said because it was very unsatisfactory and one of the people who read the report in its preliminary stages, sent back a note to say “You are making a great deal of fuss about this particular finding and all you have to do is look at the plan which they print in the appendix and you can see this is a totally unsuitable kind of house for the people living in it”.

How do you see this sort of outreach public service activity in relation to being a sociologist, is it something you see as being almost a requirement?

Well at the stage I came though the Sociology in Liverpool University which I think will reflect really the [reflection] on this where Economics as well were big. It was very much an emphasis on not doing value-based writing or indeed recommendations to things. It was a certain air of, well you could talk about it, but not write it. It was very much a sort of – you don’t go beyond the emphasis that you’ve got so you just simply report it. There was the beginnings of some adventurous people going beyond that in both universities but very little. The whole line was simply “work from what you’ve got in the way of actual numerical data”.

I think your role of work here in UCD put a great emphasis on the teaching and research methods and keeping those sort of standards.

Yeah, both because I thought it was true and also because I thought it was very necessary and thirdly that there were going to be opportunities – perfectly good reasons for putting a lot of emphasis on it.

So I think up to the time that you became Head of Department in Sociology, you were very much hands on involved in research. That role I think changed a bit subsequently; I think you were – became more of a facilitator in this research.

Actually that was a decision prior to that – once we had enough people who almost by definition were enough young people, interested in and willing to go into research, I decided that my role should be to help them to whatever extent they needed help, encourage them certainly and probably help them in the early stages and that was an actual decision. I don’t remember the date.

I know X used to pick up books regularly and look in the acknowledgements, and “Where is the bit about thanking Conor Ward for his support and encouragement in the early stages?” He had to spot it.

That’s right. You can tell him he was right. At this stage you can tell him that. And the other thing that I think would have been probably around about then would have been the community support service. That would have followed the research in the new areas – following that we decided to see to what extent we could help with people doing their own self surveys and what was the official body that was helping local community groups at that stage. There was some, I can probably find it and I remember a simple guide to what to do and not to do in a community self survey for them which I also came across recently. I can find that as well. And in the introduction to that which is about all I read when I found it a few weeks back, it said something like that this was based on – I can’t remember the figure even now though it’s only a couple of weeks back – something like experience with 12 or 15 or something like that areas so that was another factor which in fact was representing the interests of people in what was one department but the different interests in it. And Mary McEvaddy [later Whelan] as she was then was very involved in that. At that stage too we also did one of the early studies of what a parish should be in a changing world from the point of view of the people of the parish which was again a group of local people doing it. What triggered that memory in my mind is Mary McEvaddy because she was one of the locals in that case as distinct from the university people.

And that also led, I presume, to the studies that Donal O’Donoghue actually was doing and I was privileged as a student to be involved along with them.

Oh fine, we’ll leave them do their memories of that.

You had set up the Social Science Research Centre in 1961 or so and you also had this kind of facilitator role planned as it were for yourself.  It was a new kind of position emerging in a number of areas now called Research Manager – would you describe yourself in those terms or …?

I wouldn’t have been Research Manager in any even broad sense. I definitely wasn’t taking managerial responsibility. Probably the first time that I did that was when the ISSP came in. But no, it would have been more the conviction that what we needed was a lot of people doing research and that the “training” that we offered wasn’t sufficient and consequently that they needed someone to talk to at the stages – particularly design stages because you know as well as I do the design stage is the most important. But it wasn’t always appreciated to be. People tended to rush in and start doing the research sort of style. So it was that type of thing. I suppose it was a reality that there were people consulting me about what they were thinking of doing and such like and that I just decided that that was probably a more constructive role I could play in terms of the development of social research in Ireland – and of our students, our graduates.

But I suppose it’s hugely instrumental and important to help people in that way but it’s totally alien I suppose to the way in which people tend to put their own research agenda first nowadays.

Even more nowadays.

And we’re being urged I suppose to do so.

Well we were beginning to be urged to do so at that stage and that was the stage at which people were beginning to talk about the importance of publications and things like that. But I suppose by then I’d a fair few of a sort of kind and I didn’t really need any more.

You could have cherry picked and hazarded a guess at various surveys that were on offer but pass the less important ones on to others.

How did you see things say around about 1970 or so when the SAI was set up in relation to sociology in Ireland and what had such an association meant to you?

Well if you remember that also .. clearly I can remember it as something that was something, I suppose, talking casually, a number of us were keen to do and by then too, I think we’d be getting to a stage where we’d be thinking now of something in relation to sociology – not unlike what we’ve just been talking about in relation to Social Research. Social Research, while it was difficult enough to sell was less difficult than sociology as a perspective and as a – even within the university actually, it had to be built up quite noticeably which was the point at which the research in relation to the early days of the university came in and I can remember going through the early documents to check what – I presume somebody must have told me; I don’t suppose I managed to create the idea – that the original Faculty was Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology which through all my early years it was talked well always of the Faculty of Philosophy. Sure enough it was there in the Draft Statutes and Statutes.

And the sole references to the Faculty had omitted Sociology up to then, you drew their attention to its statutory existence.

Absolutely – equal to all other faculties even – numbers had nothing to do with it. It was in the Statutes which couldn’t be changed in those days.

I think you were probably the first non-philosopher Dean of the Faculty then?

Yes, that is true but I couldn’t really put it that way because there was a very strange regulation at the stage when, probably in the mid 70’s after all the agitation, the possibility was created.  You’d remember when was it possible for a person who was not a statutory member of staff to become a member of a Faculty but only one Faculty.

That was certainly in place when I was eligible to become a member of the Faculty but I didn’t realize that for instance there would have been an option to join in the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology rather than the Faculty of Arts. A few people discovered it independently and opted for Philosophy and Sociology but then it became statutory that they could be involved in the Faculties.

I couldn’t put a date on that either but again it might be possible to find something on it.

Anyway the Department of Social Science came to an end on the 1st of September 1987 and the Departments of Sociology on the one hand and Social Policy and Social Work succeeded and I would as one of the people involved in it, I would have described it very much as divorce in friendship – just a decision that each department was big enough and had concerns which were so separate in a sense that they would be better to focus and specialize in those themselves but it was quite an achievement at the same time…

Well we’d been working towards it – I suppose you could say it was the way that we were foreseeing the future.

Round about that stage and probably earlier you began your research activities and outreach activities took place in a more international arena with the various involvements I think at European Community [level] as it was at that stage, as a consultant to the Economic and Social Committee of a FAST programme.

We could find the dates for those also and it might have been a little earlier and again were not absolutely – in any sense something that we were setting out to do except that Tomás Roseingrave had created a new position actually in the university which was Senior Research Fellow (voluntary)! Honorary was the word – much nicer word, yeah! Honorary. And Tomás was on the Economic and Social Committee so he was great in terms of information and things and …

Séamus Gallagher had that kind of title in the first stage?

Was it Séamus in Social Medicine? He was an ordinary member of staff. When he went to the International Health Organisation, he did [have that role/title]. Whether that would have been subsequent to our first person into it... Tomás was the first in and I think we suggested it to Séamus Gallagher then in terms of ….

…would have been kind of a focal point.

Yes, it was the location point and there weren’t such things around – in fact I suppose the essence of it was we thought Tomás would be useful. He also was moving from his position as Director of Muintir na Tíre and he needed some kind of location and we were thrilled to get him. He was terribly important in terms of knowledge and so forth – the involvement with the FAST programme came through information supply in effect and I had been out a couple of times to the Economic and Social Committee in the role of an expert as it was called and on one occasion the man who was there speaking to the committee from FAST Riccardo Petrella told us that he was horrified to find that the Irish representation was going to end and he said “It’s some kind of an internal public service problem” and Tomás said to me ‘Do you think we could do something about this?’. So we ended up volunteering to do it. Literally volunteering. And doing it on a voluntary basis for a number of years. And that was very important. And something similar happened in relation to COST not all that long afterwards.

So you literally paid your own way?

Yeah. Now FAST was…

That was in relation to the Economic and Social Committee in relation to FAST?

That was in relation to COST actually. No, the Economic and Social Committee wasn’t. It in fact provided the funds for others because the Economic and Social Committee gave you an honorarium for the day that you spend with them or the two days that you spent with them as well as covering your travel cost.

They were very ready to do so in those days – the pre-Ryan Air days.

They were. But they covered the travel cost. They covered it at executive level for the Economic and Social Committee only on the basis that you had to promise or you had to undertake to stay on until the meeting ended and the meeting could go on and you could miss your flight. You did miss your flight – about once in every three I’d say. So you ended up with the flexibility they had with the tickets. So that was not… the important bit of that actually was all the sort of up=to-dateness that you had in various things on their different programmes. And also to provide Tomás Roseingrave with a back-up for his campaign to have the social aspects from the social science perspectives included in the research programme framework.

I must say when we get notifications of all these framework programmes, I always think that only for the work that you two did, these wouldn’t be there at all and there are thousands literally of researchers around Europe who are benefiting from it all unaware of how it began.

It was a huge struggle and as you probably remember as well as I do that the coincidence of it was that this happened – I can’t remember which programme I was out for first but we certainly went through it and worked our way through two or three of the framework programmes and the one which is recorded inside in the office was the one where finally it was formally included and Tomás was on his death bed at this stage. He just was around long enough to have put in the initial proposals and by the time it got to the stage that it was definitely in – in fact I came back from a meeting to which I had gone having been his Rapporteur/expert. The next Rapporteur needed me so I was back out and I came home to tell him that it had gone through the Economic and Social Committee and that we had managed to talk the people in the Commission around to it while they were awaiting something to happen. There was some hold up in it. It was deferred for most of a year and during that I managed to talk to them. But anyway, that was Tomás’s achievement with some support from the rest of the Department. We got on to that because of the Senior Research Fellowship thing.

It was one of the many ways that you found around regulations?

Yeah. There are a couple of good stories about that which are not worth putting in archives but essentially it was to find a title which didn’t exist in UCD and that’s what that was and it worked very well.

The FAST programme then was in relation to Science and Technology?

“Forecasting Assessments for Science and Technology”. We had gone into that initially replacing some other entity that didn’t want to be along with this – there was a government representative – I think we could have three representatives and a lot of the time we had only two but Riccardo Petrella who was the Commission Active Chairperson and Director of the thing – whatever his title was – he was the important person in it.

Was he the Commissioner?

No, about three grades down. The FAST was a programme within DG12 so after the Commissioner, you had the Director General and a couple of other grades. FAST was one small part of DG12 in fact. It was kind of the same thing as the Social Science and Economic and Social Committee – it was just about tolerated initially and built itself up and Petrella was responsible for building it up.

And Tomás chaired the Economic and Social Committee for a while.

He did. President was his actual title and it was a real presidency with huge privileges and it remained important. When you ceased being President you still had the honour and the influence.

And out of your EC involvement would come to be the University of Bethlehem project – partly anyway?


Yes, or through that it was facilitated.

To be strictly accurate, it was rescued. The Bethlehem project had two strands to it – one was that in the strategic plan – the first one – the development plan UCD had committed itself to, there was appreciation of the help that it got as a small university from people from other universities and to providing that for small universities in developing countries – that was in, simultaneously this was in the mid 80’s – UCD was pretty well bankrupt and as the Science records stated, laboratories were 20 years out of date and once again the European Programmes came into that and a consortium of Irish universities got the contract for the new university of Science and Technology – Science and Engineering I think it was – in Jordan and John Kelly was the co-ordinator of that. They took all the Irish universities together to get it and they got it and he was out and the story may have grown in time but anyway essentially the idea was that the Irish ambassador had a party for St. Patrick’s Day, I think it was that, anyway there was this party. John Kelly was at it as the visitor. And in the course of the evening – it was a formal occasion because they were sitting down and he was beside a man who was talking to him about it and asking him about it and John was talking about the great benefits of the Irish universities and so forth. And eventually this man said to him, “Well now you’ve been telling me about what your university is getting out of this thing,” he said. Jordan at the time claimed and had responsibility for the West Bank and he said “Do you think there would be any chance that some of your people would do volunteer assistance to some of the little universities that are struggling to get started over in the West Bank?” and John being the enthusiast he was said ‘I’m sure they would, of course they would. And can we carry this further tomorrow,’ or something? And this man said, ‘Would you like to go over tomorrow and visit some of them?’ And he said, ‘There would be only time for one day.’ So they decided on one and they gave him the list and when he saw Bethlehem on it he chose Bethlehem. So he went to Bethlehem and they talked about it there and he came back and it turned out that when he got back he discovered that the person that had been sitting beside him had talked about it to the EU Ambassador to the area who was an Irishman and he had backed the whole idea. So something was put together hurriedly and sent in on the basis of the Ambassador who was recommending it but unfortunately the Ambassador got changed before it got as far as the Director General in Directorate Five and they rejected it. So when we heard it was rejected – John had circulated the whole university and especially Social Science – you might even remember – saying that one of the things the EU said if [an estimate]  was done they would be willing to fund it. So we asked Tomás could he find out why it had been rejected. Tomás talked to somebody who said, “Oh yeah we might have a word about it next time that your expert is out”. So myself and Tomás went along and this man said to us, “I’ll show you the document,” and it was a good case of putting a thing together on the basis of somebody saying they will support it but not going into the details of all the complications of an EU application.

Fund on technical grounds, yeah?

Yeah, so what we had to do, we had to find another Directorate and put in another application. Now that’s the bit of it where I suppose I became more connected – I became involved with Tomás’s support in this case, reversing things and we eventually got through a successful proposal.

In DG12?

No, it wasn’t, we had to leave DG12. DG12 passed it on to DG5. Now these details are not important except eventually it ended up in [DG1B] and they backed it. And that was how it began because it needed a sponsor from a State. In those days you had to have one of the member states that would sponsor things so Ireland said they would and Ireland said that what they would fund would be co-ordination. They actually said management and we talked them out of that into co-ordination. And then the people had volunteered to go as volunteers – very like quality assurance nowadays and John circulated all of them again saying “Would any of you be willing to go out as a co-ordinator for a period of six months or so?” And that was the year when sabbaticals had just come in. Well they had come in a couple of years before but very shortly before and I had said I would like to go on a half sabbatical and when the Bethlehem thing came up I decided that would be a useful place to go so I went out then. Now I had been out as part of the process of developing the proposal and that’s how I had it in mind apart altogether from the fact that I think half a dozen from Social Science had volunteered in terms of their needs assessment survey and that’s how the Bethlehem link began. Using the two, the fact that the President of UCD at the time, Paddy Masterson, said, “Yes, we are committed to that.” So first of all we said “We’ll facilitate it by not requiring formal applications for leave of absence to go and secondly if anybody wants to do it on sabbatical time they’re welcome to do it.” So we went out successively – myself, Collette Dowling and Maurice Harmon – and launched the project and said goodbye at the end of our respective terms of residence out there. Which wasn’t residence either, because we had to go home every six weeks because the Israelis wouldn’t let us stay longer than two months on the visa unless we swore allegiance. So we were coming back and forward and it’s relevant to the end of one little section of what we’re talking about – in fact the whole of it – which was that I went out first and I finished off and Colette Dowling went out. But when we came home for our six month course [the end of our six month period of service] we got together, the three of us, to chat and get up to date at later stages and when we all had completed our time and said goodbye and had been formally thanked and said goodbye to, we went for our sort of general reminiscence of the whole thing and Colette Dowling who was a very very young member of UCD staff informed us that she had decided to leave UCD and she was going to go out under what was then the reduction of numbers and Maurice followed it up by saying that he actually had put in his early retirement and I told him what I had just told the Department – that I had decided that in a year’s time I was also retired. So all three of us had I’d say, basically on a sociological basis, that our patterns of life had just been disturbed – we’d been drifting on relatively tranquilly in them and something just disturbed them and we just all sort of thought in terms of doing something else and in Maurice’s and my case while we were still young enough, we hoped, to do it. And Colette was starting a whole new career at this time. So that was the beginning of the Bethlehem project. During the two and a half years, it was only two years in real time actually because of closures and so forth, we had had a lot of people had come back and forward. Come from there and gone from here and people here thought that I had a glorious job! But when they heard that the university had been closed by the Israelis – and there I was going out to a university which was closed! The same for the other two but in fact it was an urban hedge school system which had been developed in the meantime. So that’s I suppose the relevant bits of Bethlehem University, except that I suppose it continued and the next President endorsed the same thing for use in relation to specific areas and finally when we’d gone through several stages, the EU accepted the early reports enthusiastically and said that they were willing to put funds in now but of course we’d have to get them in through the formal channels but they wanted us again to help them to write the proposals and subsequently to write the internal assessment and thirdly then to help them with the outside assessment sort of thing so the contacts went on until last June.

Did you see yourself as kind of formally almost withdrawing from the European scene then,  of being very much involved in the start of research in Ireland and then the kind of  acceptance for what was social research in Europe and then you went further, is that it?

Well we had also – I being the most active person. We got into COST at that stage as well at the Department and the people who were responsible in Ireland were – what were they called then which became through the – now the Enterprise Ireland – they were the early stages of that. And they were responsible for the European Affairs sort of style and they wanted someone and couldn’t get anyone. Another organization, another institution did send somebody for a short time and then said ‘no, it was too much time’. So that’s how we got into COST and it was very interesting and very worthwhile I suppose you could say too. So that then eventually was one of the things that Pauline [Faughnan] [agreed to take on] so it was…

 Would that have been, you relinquished that as you were going more deeply into the Bethlehem project?

Yeah more or less because it was something that I suppose reflected the early days in UCD – you had to do everything and when there were smaller numbers we were still doing multiple things and you would remember yourself all the different sorts of things that we were all doing. In order to move beyond just being static, you had to be all the time getting into things. So the European scene then was getting more organized, bureaucratized and there were others willing to do things. And there were members of the Department who…

….kind of helped you to take your hand off the tiller???

No I wouldn’t put it that way. There were now people – again we had the policy that people were starting off – we couldn’t ask them to do things but we began to have a number of very established people who were more than confident to do things and consequently the next phase was ready to go. And I was also a bit deeply involved – more deeply than expected in Bethlehem after I had done the first fulltime absence so the obvious thing to do was to decrease where I could. So I think I did two jobs after Tomás’s death, just to indicate that I had nothing against the Economic and Social Committee and then told them that – in fact I think I wouldn’t have done many more specific ‘opinions’ [specifications] which was a very demanding [assignment] and I suppose a very sought after [job] too. But other things were the independent group with whom I worked a lot, they would be the people to do it. A couple of others did go out actually, as experts to a group, as distinct from a Rapporteur, afterwards. And then I think they changed the system or something like that. I can’t remember now – that came to an end or maybe it just faded out.

Where do you see Sociology in Ireland today?

Amazing is the only word – not just from the perspective of once upon a time when it came under UCD staff. But even by the standards that we had achieved collectively by ’71 I think [Sociology in Ireland] has made huge consolidation moves and has achieved not for the first time but has really achieved its rightful place academically and in the country as a whole and the biggest compliment for that is you hear people going around telling us back what we told them once upon a time!

Are there directions/paths that you would think Sociology should be thinking of nowadays?

I’m very detached from Sociology nowadays – still interested to find how often it turns out to be useful but I wouldn’t – it’s my own fault in a way but my excuse is that I was making an adjustment to another area at a very late stage in life and consequently had to put my heart into that.

Well you were very heavily involved in parochial duties too, your retirement from UCD – and you were about to be running a parish.

Well it was a local service but…

It turned out to be the full whack!

It did, yeah. So, in fact, it was partly my idea. It was totally my idea to retire when I thought I still had enough energy to be useful in another sphere which I was qualified for. And it developed rather more than I’d expected. And subsequently I suppose nearly a history of my experience that having gone into something on a short term basis it grew longer, but happily so. But it did mean I really didn’t have much time to keep my existing sociological interests to the fore in terms of keeping up with things. And Bethlehem happened to cut across the annual [Sociological Association of Ireland] meeting every year.

Yes, I think the ISSP [International Social Survey Programme] also caused problems as the annual meeting of the ISSP tended to coincide with the weekend the SAI conference was being held.

The ISSP meeting I managed to continue with until I found someone who was willing to take it on and [with] capability to do it.

That was something that you had run from your own funds as well.

It was more or less. Well Andrew [Greeley] provided these funds I must admit [towards fielding and archiving the research of annual modules, not towards Conor’s travel and subsistence]. Oh, the attendance – yeah, my own attendance. That’s why I couldn’t ask anyone really to take it on until there was some kind of funding around. It was another exciting adventure too I suppose you could say and we were fortunate in that Andrew really backed us so much, even though initially his backing, was over enthusiastic and sounded as if we weren’t going to be accepted as members as you’ll probably remember. The Secretariat at the time responsible for the preliminary vetting of new members thought that he was just getting us in to enable him to get in as well. But in fact one meeting in London disposed of that very effectively – we had no real problems.

It was a very early stage really – they were only two years in existence.

They were making the move from the original five members who had been all pals together once upon a time who had set up this joint working thing and they felt they had to expand and they were going to take in four new countries keeping us carefully in a minority vote situation because so much was decided by vote and that was the stage at which we came in. And with Andrew Greeley’s financial help, we managed to do some of the modules that had been done before we joined and the rest thereafter which you know. The ESRI were very very helpful in the days when we had pretty well no money, they did things at cost and provided a lot of time without any cost at all. We were very much indebted to them. We couldn’t have survived. We missed very few – we missed only one or two modules altogether.

That’s right, it was quite a record – the times were so straitened in relation to access to finance… it was quite elitist.

It was well worthwhile though as we all know now.

We’re very thankful you joined the [ISSP].

It was good. And it was always a very pleasant lot of people. Some of the meetings weren’t all that pleasant as you probably know yourself at times but it was a lot of people who were sufficiently competent and confident to disagree at meetings and to be very friendly otherwise. It was a good example of academic co-operation.

…loads of other things?

Ah, that’s enough for one day.

I’m sure I have you exhausted at the same time.

Not at all. Quite honestly it proved easier than I thought. I was thinking I could never focus on this. Apart from rambling here and there, it proved easy enough. So you can switch off now safely.



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