The Irish Scientific Elite post-1921

I have said enough about the core-fringe question to suggest that there is a good basis for the adaptation of the Crawford methodology to the analysis of the Irish scene as it has developed in this century, and that this needs to be on the historians' agenda. The Irish situation is peculiar in that there is no language barrier, and at the start of the period the Irish scientific establishment was accepted as 'core'; this perception has persisted and is in evidence in the Olby et al compendium.

The Irish scientific establishment was however to some extent hostile to political developments within Ireland, on the grounds that they did not want to be relegated to fringe status scientifically, nor was the Protestant component comfortable with the Rome Rule spectre.

However once the State was established, they made efforts to keep the scientific establishment high in the esteem of the scientific core, despite obstacles generated by the relative indifference on the part of the new State, which was not aware of the importance of science, at least initially.

An aspect of this State indifference is, paradoxically, that the Free State was not attempting to support a military-industrial complex, as had been the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The need for scientific technology in national survival, as perceived in the 20s, had a uniquely military dimension. This brings us on to the question of the Faustian pact.

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