chapter  12
19 Pages

Roy Geary

ByJOHN E . SPENCER

Introduction Roy Geary was born in Dublin on 11 April 1896, where he died on 8 February 1983. His career in Irish official statistics began in 1923 and culminated in his appointment in 1947 as Director of Statistics and in 1949 as Director of the newly established Central Statistics Office (CSO). Apart from an academic year at Cambridge 1946-47 and secondments as consultant, notably to UNO, Lake Success in 1950 and FAO, Rome in 1953, he remained in Dublin until his retirement from the CSO in 1957, when he moved to New York for three years to head the National Accounts Branch of the United Nations Statistical Office. In 1960 he returned to Dublin to lead the newly established Economic and Research Institute, where he was to spend the rest of his life, as Director until 1966, as Consultant thereafter. Many honours came his way, including Honorary Doctorates from NUI, QUB and TCD and Honorary Fellowships of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association. He was a Council Member of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW) from 1951, Chairman, 1965-67 and in 1951 was elected Fellow of the Econometric Society in 1951, serving as a Council Member 1952-54. He studied mathematics in UCD, receiving his BSc and MSc, both with First Class Honours, and, after further specialist courses in the Complex Variable, Integrals and Integral Equations, won in 1918 a two-year Travelling Studentship in Mathematics, to finance his studies at the Sorbonne, 1919-21. Arthur Conway, mathematical physicist, later to become President of the College, was among his teachers in UCD. In June 1922, he described Roy as a ‘brilliant student indeed’ and pointed to Roy’s research capacity by stating that he had already obtained ‘some very interesting results on Associated Legendre Functions’ while studying under Conway himself. Among his teachers in Paris were several famous mathematicians, including Borel, Goursat, Cartan, Lebesgue and Hadamard. On completing his studies, he returned to Dublin, probably in summer 1921, and in December 1922 was offered a job in the Department of Statistics in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce at £41.34 per month. He accepted, eager to play his part in the new state, and began work as Junior Administrative Officer on 1 January 1923.