Michael Tierney


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(1894–1975), academic and public intellectual. Son of a small farmer, he attained an academic career through a series of scholarships, becoming professor of Greek at University College, Dublin, in 1922. A separatist activist from 1913, he supported the Anglo-Irish treaty, serving as Cumann na nGaedheal TD (1925–7, 1927–32) and Fine Gael senator (1938–44). In the 1930s he advocated Catholic corporatism and the Blueshirts. Tierney exalted Gaelic and Catholic traditions, parliamentary politics, and liberal education; he detested Anglo-Irish and Protestant traditions as colonial impositions. As president of UCD 1947–64 he asserted succession from Newman's Catholic University. His transfer of UCD from the city centre to Belfield in south Dublin can be seen both as skilful preparation for expansion and as a high-handed attempt to distance UCD from Trinity College. The authoritarian ethos associated with his leadership of UCD disintegrated from the late 1960s. Tierney was the son-in-law and biographer of Eoin MacNeill, whose historical reputation he promoted.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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