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Top Irish economist Patrick Lynch dies

A LIST of truly influential Irish economists of the last hundred years would be a small one. But the name of Patrick Lynch, 84, who died last week, would be at the top.

Professor of Political Economy at UCD up to 1980, Paddy Lynch was one of the most respected and influential social and economic thinkers during the critical period of the Sixties, when Ireland's economic foundations were laid.

His role in framing the Programme for Economic Expansion, spearheaded by the then secretary of the Department of Finance, Kenneth Whitaker, has been generously conceded. Indeed, all those who knew, studied with or otherwise came under Paddy's influence, have paid tribute to his uniquely radical influence in a society steeped in conservative thought.

Born in 1917, he joined the Department of Finance, the seat of Irish conservatism, during the Emergency. He was made private secretary to Taoiseach John Costello and helped influence Costello's coalition government of the late 1940s.

By the early 1950s, he was back in UCD as lecturer in economics. However, he took on many other challenges, becoming a youthful chairman of both Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta in 1954, later joining the board of one of the banks that would later become AIB where he stayed many years.

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