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Christopher Stephen "Todd" Andrews (6 October 1901 – 11 October 1985) was an Irish political activist and public servant. He participated in the Irish Revolution of 1916-23 as a political and military activist in the Irish Republican movement. Later he served as a government minister in several Fianna Fáil governments.

Contents

Early life

Andrews was born in Dublin, but soon acquired the nickname "Todd", because of his perceived resemblance to an English comic strip hero. He was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers, and at University College Dublin.

Nationalist revolutionary

He joined the Irish Volunteers at the age of fifteen and had an active role in the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1920, however he was released after ten days on hunger strike. He was interned at the Curragh in 1921 but he escaped. Andrews took the Republican side during the Irish Civil War. He was interned by the government of the Irish Free State until 1924. He then continued with his studies and graduated with a Commerce degree.

Political career

He got a job with the Irish Tourist Association and later with Electricity Supply Board. When the Fianna Fáil government came to power in 1932 Andrews was put in charge of turf development. He advocated the setting up of a properly managed commercial enterprise. In 1946 Bord na Móna was set up with Andrews as managing director.

In 1958 he was appointed chairman of the Irish transport company, Córas Iompair Éireann. Aping the widescale closures in Britain (the Beeching Axe), he presided over closure of significant sections of the rail network which by 1962 included

  • the Bray to Harcourt Street railway, now partially reopened as part of the LUAS Green Line
  • the substantial railway network west of Cork city (Bandon, Bantry and Macroom and the associated branchlines to Clonakility, Skibbereen and Kinsale)
  • the West Clare Railway and the legacy tramway around the Hill of Howth inherited from the Great Northern Railway.
  • Caheriveen, Kenmare & Kanturk lines

In 1966 Todd Andrew was appointed chairman of the RTÉ authority. Asked the difference between his new job as director of RTÉ and his old job as head of the national transport system, he is reputed to have declared, "RTÉ carries more passengers" (though this was a fairly common joke among Dubliners at that time)[1]. He resigned in 1970 when his son, David Andrews was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.

Later life and family

He was the recipient of several honorary doctorates and degrees from various universities. He published his autobiography in two volumes in 1979 and 1982, under the titles of Dublin Made Me and Man of No Property.

Andrews died in Dublin at the age of 84.

Two of his sons, Niall Andrews and David Andrews became TDs, with David Andrews becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Todd's grandson, Ryan Tubridy, is a radio presenter and television chatshow host on RTÉ, while grandsons Barry Andrews and Chris Andrews are Fianna Fáil TDs. Ryan Tubridy has just been appointed (in May 2009) by RTÉ to be the next host of the television station's long-running chat show The Late Late Show, whose legendary first host (and producer) was Gay Byrne. Byrne, in his memoir The Time of My Life relates how Andrews, when appointed chairman of the RTÉ Authority phoned the Director General and ordered him to "sack that f...er Byrne". The management politely declined.

References

  1. ^ The Pear is Ripe, A Memoir, John Montague
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