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Insightful new book tells story of the Dairy Disposal Company – a successful ‘kind of NAMA for the dairy industry’.

“I hope that nobody will make the mistake of regarding this transaction as the beginnings of a policy under which the Government proposes to run the creameries of the country.” Patrick Hogan, T.D., Minister for Agriculture (Dáil Éireann, 15th March 1927).

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D., launched a fascinating new book ‘Irish Agriculture Nationalised’, by Dr. Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh,  at the headquarters of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) in Dublin.

The publication of the book has been made possible through a subvention from The Golden Jubilee Trust of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).

Attendees at the launch included the Chairman, Dr. Seán Brady, and members of The Golden Jubilee Trust, ICOS CEO Seamus O’Donohoe, and directors and CEOs of ICOS and dairy processing co-operatives in Ireland.

The event was also attended by Mrs. Una Moloney, wife of the late Jim Moloney, to whom the book is dedicated.  Mr. Moloney was a former director general of ICOS and Chairman of the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society.   Mr. & Mrs. Moloney’s daughter Aoifeann also attended.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. said, “I want to congratulate Dr Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh on the launch of this book, which seems particularly timely in light of the of the growing public interest in our food and the circumstances of its provenance. It charts a model and mindset of enterprise and ambition that were before their time, precisely the same mindset, in fact, that now sees Ireland once more to the fore as a dairy ‘superpower’.  It is also a book which links the story of the past with the story of the present, making it all the more readable and valuable.  I wish Mícheál every success with it.”

Irish Agriculture Nationalised tells the remarkable story of the Dairy Disposal Company (DDC), one of the first Irish state-sponsored bodies. It was established in 1927 to acquire private creameries and other agri-businesses (which were failing on a widespread basis) and transfer them to co-operative societies.

Intended to be a temporary agency, the Dairy Disposal Company was instrumental in dairy industry developments for some five decades after its establishment.

In his foreword to the book, Professor Eunan O’Halpin, of Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Contemporary Irish History, describes the Dairy Disposal Company as  ‘a kind of NAMA’  for the dairy industry in Munster.  It was finally dissolved in the 1970s ‘as a consequence both of EEC membership and of having triumphantly succeeded in its aims.’

The DDC evolved into an agency that developed creameries and other agri-businesses, particularly in the south, and stimulated economic growth.  By the time it dissolved in 1978, it had laid foundations, for instance, for The Kerry Group and Golden Vale.

At its height the DDC operated 191 creameries and 86 other agri-businesses, employed 1,400 people and was an industrial outlet for 25,000 farmers.

Originally from Galway, Dr. Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh’s main research interest is Irish economic and social history in the 20th Century.  He lectures in modern history at Dublin Business School and is a visiting researcher in the School of Business at Trinity College Dublin.