Collection Ref.: IE BL/PC/NK
Title: Neville Keery Collection
Dates: 1951 - 2012
Level of description: Item
Extent: 62 boxes & ephemera
IE BL/PC/NK is the Neville Keery Collection donated to UCC Library by Mr. Neville Keery in 2008 and over the intervening years has been added to by Mr. Keery.
Neville Keery, born 5 May 1939, had a career as politician for the Fianna Fáil party, journalist and Senator. He joined Fianna Fáíl in 1964 and was a member of the Meaghan Neary Cumann in Dalkey, County Dublin, Keery became constituency delegate to the Fianna Fáil National Executive in 1968. Following unsuccessful bids to get elected during the 1967 Local Elections and the 1969 General Election Keery was elected to the Irish Seanad [Irish Senate] following a nomination by Jack Lynch TD, Taoiseach [Irish Prime Minister]. During his time as in the Seanad Keery maintained correspondence with numerous constituents and groups regarding issues such as housing, environmental concerns, infrastructure, education, family planning, agriculture, land, health and employment.
Keery's time as Senator also corresponded with several important referendums and bye-elections. In 1969 a referendum was held to determine whether Ireland should change from the proportional representation system of voting to the first past the post system. In 1972 Keery was actively involved in the referendum to decide whether Ireland should enter the EEC [European Economic Community] including being part of the Into Europe campaign who were in favour of Ireland's entry. Keery was also part of a group of Fianna Fáil delegates who visited European Institutions on a fact-finding mission about the functions and roles of these institutions in preparation for Ireland's possible entry. In late 1972 two more referendums took place to reduce the voting age to eighteen and to remove from the Irish constitution the Catholic Church's 'special position' within the Irish State.
Keery's time as Senator also coincided with the outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland known as ‘The Troubles’. During this time Keery gave speeches and took part in debates regarding the conflict, how to find a peaceful solution to it and how to create a better understanding between the two fighting communities. In November 1970 the Movement for Peace in Ireland was launched which contained two committees, one in Northern Ireland and the other in the Republic of Ireland. Keery was a member of this movement and was present at numerous of its early meetings. Senator Keery also had correspondence with other groups who worked towards peace in Northern Ireland such as the New Ulster Movement and the British Irish Association. A large number of newspapers were also kept by Keery regarding the conflict in Northern Ireland as well as speeches delivered by political figures on the violence.
Following failure to get elected during the 1973 General Elections and to get re-elected to the Seanad, Keery became acting Director for the Irish Council of the European Movement following the death of the former director Michael Sweetman in a plane crash in June 1972. He was then appointed by the European Commission as Principal Administrator A5 and Deputy Head and Press Officer of the Commission's Dublin Office. In 1974 Keery was appointed as Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the office of Dr Patrick Hillery, Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Social Affairs. During this time Europe was going through a period of high unemployment and was also affected by the Energy Crisis of the mid 1970's. The cabinet of Dr Hillery were central to the creation of energy, employment and social policies that were then debated on by the European Parliament before approval. Following Dr Patrick Hillery's inauguration as President of Ireland in December 1976, Keery returned to his position as Director of the Irish Council of the European Movement in Dublin.
In 1982 Keery joined the European Commission's Spokesman's Group before later joining the Directorate General for Education and Culture and then in 1993 being promoted to the Head of the Libraries Division. During this time Keery was part of the development of the Spokeman's Database, the RAPID system and the development of EUROLIB, the group of EU [European Union] institution libraries.
Neville Keery retired in 2001 however he continued to be involved with the International Association of Former Officials of the European Union and the National Forum on Europe. From this period he kept a collection of material that highlights important events that took place in Ireland that shaped the country’s society and relationship with the European Union including the two Nice treaty referendums, the two Lisbon treaty referendums, the development and collapse of the European Union constitution, the economic collapse in Ireland, and the Ireland in Europe project by the Institute of International and European Affairs. He also has published three volumes of poems and has an interest in film studies.
The collection is divided into two sections, Neville Keery's political career and his post retirement years.
The first section has been divided into ten series that fall under different stages of Neville Keery’s career. Firstly is material from his time in the Meaghan Neery Cumann and correspondence with the executive council of Fianna Fáil. Second is material from general and local elections which Keery was involved in. Third is correspondence with constituents and organisations on a variety of issues during Keery’s time as Senator. Fourth is material from the EEC Referendum campaign held in 1972. Fifth is material relating to Fianna Fáil in power and opposition between the late sixties and late seventies. Sixth is material from Keery’s time working in Dr Patrick’s cabinet in the European Commission. Seventh are letters between cabinet members of Dr Hillery’s cabinet. Eighth is material relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Ninth is material from Keery’s time in the Spokesman’s Group and the Directorate General for Education and Culture. Finally the tenth is personal material related to Neville Keery.
The second section has been divided into fifteen series relating to important events in early twenty-first century Ireland. These are the Institute of International and European Affairs Ireland in Europe Project, the economic and political situation in Ireland, the role of the National Forum on Europe regarding the creation of a European Union constitution, the Nice Treaty referenda, the Fiscal Compact Referendum, European Union enlargement, the Lisbon Treaty referenda, the Association of Former Officials of the European Union Irish Section [AIACE], the European Year of Citizens, science and technology, correspondence with political figures, and newspaper articles from various European newspapers taken form the mid 1980’s.
Mr. Keery’s original order has been maintained.