Front cover of ‘Fine Gael policy for a Just Society: Education’ (1966)

Towards a Just Society

For all its flaws and the problems encountered in developing it, Costello’s document is worth recalling as a case study for social policy formulation. Though it remained an untested document it did make an important contribution to wider discourse which saw many of the areas identified as problematic being legislated for at a later stage. The central message also remains important…social reform and social progress are not luxuries which we must wait for until economic development has reached a certain point.

Dr Ciara Meehan

As part of the History podcast series Dr Ciara Meehan (UCD) discusses Fine Gael’s Declan Costello and the reasons why he formulated his Just Society document in the mid 1960s.

Dr Meehan‘s book on the Just Society is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan in 2013. The research for this book was conducted during her time as an IRCHSS Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCD School of History & Archives, 2009-11. The book explores the transformation of Irish society and politics through the lens of Declan Costello’s Just Society and Garret FitzGerald’s Constitutional Crusade.

Her first book, ‘The Cosgrave Party: a History of Cumann na nGaedheal, 1923-33’, was published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2010. She is also the author of several articles and book chapters on various aspects of Irish politics post-independence. Her most recent publications include an article (with Sean Farrell, Gary Murphy and Kevin Rafter) on the 2011 General Election in New Hibernia Review (15, 3, autumn 2011), and a chapter on Arthur Griffith in Kevin Rafter (ed.) Irish journalism before Independence: More a disease than a profession (Manchester University Press, 2011).

Declan Costello: Towards a Just Society

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Image: front cover of document – ‘Fine Gael policy for a Just Society: Education’ (1966)