Felix M. Larkin — Career Details
Born 7 August 1951 in Dublin, eldest of four children (three sons & one daughter) of Terence A. Larkin and Eileen J. Larkin, née McGeown (1927-2021).
My family roots are in the province of Ulster. My father was born in Newry, Co. Down, in 1924. All four of my grandparents were also born in Ulster, three in South Armagh and the fourth at Garvagh, Co. Derry. In addition, all but one of my great-grandparents were born in Ulster. The exception was Denis Larkin, my father’s paternal grandfather. However, while born in Co. Louth, he was descended from an old Co. Armagh family and lived for most of his long life in the townland of Faughil Etre, near Jonesborough, Co. Armagh. My mother was born in Glasgow. Her parents, who married in Belfast in 1911, had emigrated to Glasgow in 1913. They returned to Ireland in 1928, when my mother was less than one year old, and settled in Dublin. My parents married in Dublin in 1950. One of my brothers, Fr Arthur Larkin (Dublin diocese), died in 2001.
Educated at St Paul’s College, Raheny, Dublin 5 (1958-68), University College Dublin (1968-72) and the Institute of Public Administration (1972-3).
I am an historian by training – BA (1971) and MA (1972). English was my second subject for the BA. My main research interest is the history of the press – in particular, the history of the Freeman’s Journal, the prominent Dublin newspaper published 1763-1924. I am also interested in the history of political cartoons – most notably, the cartoons of Ernest Forbes ('Shemus') which appeared in the Freeman's Journal in the years 1920-4. Another area of interest is American history, and in 2019 I donated my considerable collection of books, magazines and other materials about John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy family to the Kennedy Book and Research Archive at New Ross Library. My remarks on the occasion of the formal presentation of the collection to New Ross Library on 5 September 2019 are attached. In September 2021, I published a collection of my occasional writings, Living with History (reviewed by former Taoiseach John Bruton in the Irish Catholic newspaper, 28 October 2021).
Employed in the Irish Department of Finance (1973-91) and the National Treasury Management Agency (1991-2009).
I am very proud to have been a public servant all my working life. For almost eighteen years from 1973 to 1991, I was an official of the Irish Department of Finance where – inevitably, given my training in history! – I became a taxation policy specialist. I was very involved in the late 1980s in the setting up of the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin, which enterprise was largely driven by tax considerations. In 1991, I joined the then newly-established National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). This is the State body which manages Ireland’s national debt, and I worked there for another eighteen years. I had responsibility for the personal savings component of the national debt, amounting on average to about 15% of the national debt during my time as Head of Retail Debt at the NTMA. I retired (under the Government’s incentivised early retirement scheme) on 30 September 2009 – my retirement speech is attached.
Director of The Prize Bond Company Limited (2000-08).
Member of the Board of Directors (formerly,Trustees) of the Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society (2008 to date; Vice Chairman, 2011-12; Chairman, 2012-16; Acting Chairman, 2018).
Member of the Board (formerly, the Council) of the Central Catholic Library, Dublin (2013-16).
Member of An Post's Philatelic Advisory Committee (2015 to date; Chairman, 2016 to date).
Member of the statutory Readers Advisory Committee of the National Library of Ireland (2011-15 & 2016-20).
Editorial advisor and external contributor to the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography, published by Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Contributor to each of the three volumes of The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, published by Edinburgh University Press, 2020 & forthcoming.
Academic Director of the Parnell Summer School (2013-15):
o 2013 (Theme: 'Parnell and Kennedy – Lost Leaders');
o 2014 (Theme: 'War and Peace'); and
o 2015 (Theme: 'The French Connection – Ireland and France').
My introductory comments at each year's Summer School are attached.
Member of the Committee of the Parnell Society (2013 to date; Member of the Avondale Trust, 2016 to date; Chairman of the Avondale Trust, 2018 to date).
o National Library of Ireland Society (Hon. Treasurer, 2001-07; Vice Chairman, 2007 to date; for further information, see Dónall Ó Luanaigh, Friends of the National Library: forty years of the National Library of Ireland, Dublin, 2010),
o Irish Legal History Society (member of Council, 2006 to date; Joint Hon. Treasurer, 2007-12; member of the Publications Committee, 2012 to date; for further information, see Daire Hogan & Colum Kenny, Changes in practice and law: a selection of essays by members of the legal profession to mark twenty-five years of the Irish Legal History Society, Dublin, 2013, p. 159), and
o Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland (founder member; member of the Executive Committee, 2008 to date; Chairman, 2010-13; Treasurer, 2016 to date; for further information, see my 'Farewell Address' as chairman of the NPHFI – attached).
I have represented the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland on the Joint Liaison Committee for NEWSPLAN in Ireland.
I sing in the choir of my local church, St Brigid's in Cabinteely – for me, a source of great pleasure and fulfilment. I also have an association with St Mary's church in Haddington Road, one of the most beautiful in Dublin (especially since its refurbishment a few years ago). I am a member of the Education Ministry Group in St Mary's, which organises a lecture series in the church. In 2010, I travelled to the Holy Land with a group from St. Mary's; my diary of that trip is attached.
Member of the Kildare Street & University Club (since 2000):
o Member of the Management Committee (2005-9),
o Member of the Library & Archives Committee (2004-15: convenor, 2010-15), and
o Member of the Events & Editorial Committee (2005-12; convenor, 2006-9).
At 70 years of age, I rejoice in my continuing bachelorhood and enjoy a healthy and productive retirement devoted mainly to history research and writing, and to serving the various scholarly and other bodies with which I am associated.