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This interview is taken from PN Review 242, Volume 44 Number 6, July - August 2018.

Thomas Kinsella

An Interview with Thomas Kinsella
August – September 2017
Adam Hanna
This interview was conducted over two meetings. I first spoke to Mr Kinsella in his study in Dublin on 17 August 2017 and sent him my interview notes shortly afterwards. This is a transcript of his revised answers, which we recorded on 25 September. I am very grateful to Mr Kinsella for taking the time to meet me, and to Gerald Dawe and Sara O’Malley for facilitating this meeting.

*

Could you tell me about your time in the Civil Service?

My career in the Civil Service began in 1946 shortly after leaving secondary school. There was a false start in the university, in science. This lasted only a little while. At the moment of indecision I was informed that I had been successful in a Civil Service exam for Junior Executive. I had actually forgotten I had taken the exam – I had taken it very casually. I was offered a place on the Department of Lands – the Congested Districts Board – and worked there for some years. The work was interesting, dealing with the old Ascendancy estates, and arranging for the transfer of ownership from the – usually non-resident – landlords to the real owners of the estates: the residents who had been there for generations.

Early in the 1950s I moved as Junior Administrative Officer to the Department of Finance, firstly in the Exchange Control section, dealing with international currency matters. It is there I met the two young Germans in ‘Nightwalker’. Later, in the ordinary course of promotion, I worked as personal secretary to ...


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