When the secretary of the Department of Finance TK Whitaker sought to change the direction of the Irish economy in the late 1950s, he faced many challenges – in particular convincing an elderly political elite of the urgency of the need for new thinking. However, he was also conscious of the fact that the Irish economics profession was ill-equipped to provide appropriate guidance.

The few Irish economists able to give useful advice on policy reform included Roy Geary, the then director of the Central Statistics Office, and the young Louden Ryan in TCD who, at Whitaker’s instigation, worked in the department on the Second Programme for Economic Development. Paddy Lynch of UCD and Martin O’Donoghue of TCD were among the authors in 1965 of the

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