Duration: 3 x 45 mins
short series on prominent Irish public servants in 20th century
Irish history, broadcaster and historian John Bowman tells
the life stories of three key figures -
Last Secretary General of the League of Nations.
Irishman Sean Lester was seconded to the League of Nations.
His talents as an arbitrator in international conflicts were
quickly recognised and the League placed him in Danzig, the
flash point of Europe where the League and Nazi Germany clashed.
Sean Lester held back the tide of the Nationalist Socialists
in Danzig for three hard years. In 1937 he was moved back
to Geneva to face his greatest challenge yet. While the world
descended in to WWII, Lester was fighting an internal battle
to save the future of an institution dedicated to international
peacekeeping, the League itself. This remarkable story recounts
the career of a Sean Lester and the last years of the League
Architect of a rural revolution through Bord na Mona.
In 1933, one man was set the impossible task of answering
the Turf Question. Twenty five years later, he left behind
a monument. He had established an organisation, which employed
over 5,000 people. He built 570 houses for workers. Peat was
used in power stations to generate electricity and the country
had three briquette factories. That 'Nation Builder' was Todd
The man who was instrumental in planning Ireland's economy.
Whitaker is best known for his leadership in planning a modernising
revolution in Ireland's stagnant economy in the late 1950s.
Less well known is his pivotal role in diplomatic relations
during Ireland's first attempt to join the European Union
and in Anglo Irish trade affairs. He was also deeply influential
in advising Jack Lynch on policy on Northern Ireland. And
even in retirement he has continued his contribution to initiatives
as diverse as prison reform, scientific research and a constitutional
in association with the ESB 75th Anniversary Committee.