Lord Patten to Open Maurice Hayes Archive at NUI Galway

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes
Feb 26 2019 Posted: 12:46 GMT

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, will officially open the archive of Maurice Hayes at NUI Galway before giving a public lecture entitled, ‘A European identity: some reflections on the career of Maurice Hayes on the opening of his archive at NUI Galway’ on Tuesday, 12 March.

Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and formerly Secretary of State for the Environment, Governor of Hong Kong and European Commissioner for External Relations, was Chair in 1998-1999 of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, of which Maurice Hayes was a member.

Following the deposit of his papers in NUI Galway in 2017, the James Hardiman Library will officially open the Maurice Hayes archive to scholars and the public. Maurice Hayes (1927-2017) was an eminent public servant who played a vital role in the search for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. His many roles included: Chairman of the Community Relations Commission from 1969 until 1972; Assistant Secretary to the Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Executive, 1973-74; member of the Secretariat of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, 1975; Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, 1987-1991; Independent Senator in Se­anad Éireann, 1997-2007; Chairman of the Ireland Funds; and member of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, 1998-1999 (the Patten Commission).

Maurice Hayes had a particular ability to work with and engage people and parties of all persuasions. In addition to his achievements in Northern Ireland, Dr Hayes took a keen interest in Europe throughout his career. He served as Chairman of the Irish Government’s National Forum on Europe, which operated from 2001 to 2009, and received the European of the Year award in 2004. He published widely, including a three-volume autobiography, had a strong commitment to the Irish language and was also a vital figure in Down’s GAA successes in the 1960s.

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh speaking about the event said: “NUI Galway is honoured to hold the papers of the great Irishman and great European, Maurice Hayes. A scholar, a public servant, a peace-maker, Maurice was respected by all communities across the island of Ireland and his papers offer researchers and students a unique perspective on Ireland at a time of great social and political change. I look forward to welcoming his family to our campus for this occasion which will be marked by a perspective on Maurice’s extensive legacy in a memorial lecture by his friend, Lord Patten of Barnes.”

The Maurice Hayes Archive consists of 64 boxes and covers his whole career, including speeches, correspondence, records and papers from his membership of various working parties, commissions, conventions and other organisations. There is also material relating to local government, the GAA, his time at the Department of Health and Social Services and source material for his autobiographies. The catalogue of the archive is at http://tinyurl.com/y2w2op39.

The University holds a number of closely-related collections relating to Northern Ireland, including those of civil rights activist and human rights lawyer Kevin Boyle, intermediary Brendan Duddy and Provisional Sinn Féin leader Rúairí Ó Brádaigh. There are powerful direct connections between the Hayes papers and these other collections, most notably the private diary he kept of his role in public peace talks in 1975 at the same time as Brendan Duddy was keeping his diary of the secret talks with the IRA that proceeded in parallel. His papers will greatly enhance NUI Galway’s position as a centre for research and teaching on peacemaking, conflict resolution and the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway commented: “Maurice Hayes played an enormously important role in public life in Ireland, North and South, over several decades. His contributions ranged widely but perhaps the most important were to Community Relations, allied to his genius for maintaining strong relationships with political and social forces across the political spectrum at a time of intense violent conflict in Northern Ireland. His archive will allow a new generation of researchers to explore the extent and significance of his influence and provide a new window into political and social developments in Ireland, North and South.”

John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “It was a real privilege to get to know Maurice Hayes and to develop an understanding of his unique contribution to so many aspects of life in Northern Ireland and far beyond. The opening of his papers for research, teaching and general consultation at the James Hardiman Library means that his lasting legacy will be fully appreciated by all who make use of this important archive.”

Registration to attend the Maurice Hayes Memorial Lecture on 12 March at 5.30pm is essential; please book at http://tinyurl.com/y2j43jxz.

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