Thomas J. Morrissey, SJ, is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, and a former headmaster of Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick and president of the National College of Industrial Relations Dublin. He has written some thirteen books on Irish Labour, Ecclesiastical, Jesuit, and Educational History. These include Towards a National University: William Delany, SJ, 1835-1924 (Dublin 1983), As One Sent: Peter Kenney, SJ, 1779-1841 (Dublin 1996), William J. Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin, 1841-1921 (Dublin 2000), William O'Brien, 1881-1968. Socialist, Republican, and Trades Union Leader (Dublin 2007), Jesuits in Hong Kong, South China and Beyond, 1926-2006 (Hong Kong, 2008), Edward J. Byrne, 1872-1941: The Forgotten Archbishop of Dublin (Dublin 2010), and editor of Social Teaching of James Connolly (Dublin 1991).
William Martin Murphy (1845-1919) was one of the most successful of Irish entrepreneurs and businessmen. As well as being a good employer, Murphy was an international financier, and a contractor of railways and tramways on three continents as well as in Britain and Ireland. He revolutionised the Irish newspaper industry, was a patriot who opposed concessions in the Home Rule Bill, supported Sinn Fein as a political party, and vigorously opposed conscription and partition. Although he was a man with a strong social conscience and sense of social responsibility, he came to be viewed as something of an ogre and regarded as the man who starved the workers of Dublin into submission in 1913-14 and who called for the execution of James Connolly in 1916. This book re-examines Murphy's remarkable career.
Early Years, 1845-63
Expanding a Business, Tramways and Light Rail, Political Interests, 1863-90
Murphy, Dr Walsh and the Parnell Split, 1890-1900
Electric Tramways, Independent Newspapers, and Charges of Philistinism, 1895-1913
Labour and the Employers, 1907-14
Home Rule, the Easter Rising, and Partition, 1912-17
Convention and Conscription, 1917-18
'The reissue of Fr Morrissey's brief life of W. M. Murphy is very welcome, as we approach the centenary of the Great Dublin Lock-Out of 1913. A deeply engaged historian of labour movements in Ireland, he provides a succinct account based on such family papers as survive of the career of an extraordinary and influential man who should be known for more than his leadership of the employers in that bitter struggle with James Larkin... This excellent book will be the place to begin such explorations.'
The Irish Catholic
24 November 2011
'Morrissey takes a revisionist approach to his subject and emphasises that not only was he a successful entrepreneur but he was a good employer. He also paints him as a patriot who opposed the watering-down of the Home Rule bill and supported Sinn Fein. Morrissey makes a good case but it is doubtful if the popular opinion will be changed by this book.'
‘Bookworm [History Ireland] is always on the lookout for publications that appeal to a particular type of reader: Leaving Cert and A-level student, languid undergrad, or general readers whose enthusiasm for history is not matched by the necessary leisure time to plough through academic monographs … A case in point was the ‘Life and Times’ series published by the Historical Association of Ireland in the 1990s, which aimed ‘to place the lives of leading figures in Irish history against the background of new research’. The good news is that the series is back, with the same mission statement, this time published by UCD Press.’
‘Also welcome is the new series of the Historical Association of Ireland’s Life and Times concise biographies, which started out some years ago under the Dundalgan Press imprint. It has now been taken over by the excellent UCD Press and given a makeover and smart new livery, keeping the bright blue colour scheme of the originals. The aim of the series is to provide scholarly and accessibly brief biographies of major figures in Irish history by experts in the field, suitable for Leaving Certificate, A level and undergraduate students but also for the general reader.’