Conor Keelan who has represented Fianna Fail on Dundalk Town Council since 2009, has written a chapter in a new book about Frank Aiken, a founder of Fianna Fail, de Valera’s right-hand man and the man who topped the poll in Louth from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Frank Aiken, Nationalist and Internationalist is a collection of articles by various experts dealing with Aiken’s career from the War of Independence, his political career, to his work with the United Nations.
Conor has a Ph.D in Economics from Trinity College and his chapter deals with Aiken’s time in Government as Minister for Finance.
Frank Aiken was Minister for Finance from 1945 to 1948 and was highly regarded by officials in the Department of Finance.
As Conor Keelan points out in his excellent chapter, Aiken had asked de Valera for the job. Aiken’s first budget in 1946 was considered to be ‘a good news’ budget.
During the Second World War (The Emergency) the single biggest outlay for the Government was Army expendure. This was halved by Aiken in 1946.
He also introduced a Transition Development Fund. Contributions from this would go to state organisations and local authorities.
His second budget in 1947 saw income tax remain unchanged, but when tobacco prices rose there was a concern about an increase in cross-border smuggling.
He played a key role in the expansion of the rural electrification programme.
Frank Aiken Nationalist and Internationalist is published by Irish Academic Press.