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Title: Clondalkin Paper Mills Collection 33: Donal Casey
Authors: Keogh, Tommy
Irish Life and Lore
O'Keeffe Maurice
Casey, Donal
Keywords: Clondalkin Paper Mill
Industrial Relations
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Irish Life and Lore/South Dublin Libraries
Description: Audio refs 01 Donal Casey 1.mp3 01 Donal Casey 2.mp3 01 Donal Casey 3.mp3. Track 1: Scientist Donal Casey begins by explaining the reason why he and his family now live in Donegal. He talks about organising the laboratory as executive chemist in Donegal County Council, his promotion before retirement in the early 1980s to senior executive chemist and his duties in this position. He recalls his youth as an only child in the family home in Nephin Road near the Phoenix Park. Prior to his work at Clondalkin Paper Mills his father had been involved with shipping, and his position as shipping manager at the mills is described. Donal recalls his father speaking on the telephone to customers abroad, and he remembers his excitement at the introduction of telex. Donal attended university and graduated with a degree in science, and in 1970 he joined the paper mills as a junior scientist, with responsibility for environmental monitoring. He explains that there was a new emphasis on treating the discharge from the mills, and he recalls that the Water Pollution Act did not come into force until 1977. He discusses the introduction of flocculants in the settlement tanks to improve the clarity of the water. He considers that the paper mills was highly developed in technological terms and he was learning how to treat water and waste, which was to be very helpful in his later career. He remembers his colleagues, including Catherine Murphy from Cork who was his boss, Eugene McKiernan, the mills manager, and his mentor, Dr Sherry who was also a chemist, recalled as an enormously talented man whom he greatly admired. Track 2: Donal talks about the attempt to control the discharge into the River Camac, and he recalls complaints from the Fishery Board. In his work he became more concerned in process control, looking over the internal treatment in each of the paper machines which involved recycling fibre from the paper-making process. He explains this process, the draining off of the water and the retrieval of fibre. He feels that engineer Dr Cusack and chemist Dr Sherry were ahead of their time. He discusses the science of paper-making and recalls Sean Carroll and his ability to hear how a paper machine was working. Donal remained with the paper mills until it closed in 1981. The recession of the 1980s is recalled and he considers himself fortunate to have had a degree as at this time, he was newly married and had a young child. The price of paper in those days and the competition from abroad is recalled. Track 3: Some photographs dating from his father’s time at the paper mills are discussed by Donal, who explains that his uncle Godfrey also worked at the mills in the time and motion section. Donal surmises on the possible reason why his father left his employment with B. & I. Shipping during WWII. After the mills closed, Donal worked initially with a paper converters in Dublin, and later with Dublin Corporation laboratory in the environmental management area on a rolling temporary contract for five years. In 1988, he interviewed for a permanent post and was successful in obtaining a position with Donegal County Council. He recalls that there were checkpoints on the road to Donegal at that time and the difficulties, as his mother was concerned about him and his family moving there. He was the first chemist appointed to the Council and he set up the laboratory there. Because of his chemical knowledge, he was asked to advise the security forces on the best environmental disposal of a fertiliser bomb. In the early 1990s he and his colleagues became involved with a cross-border environmental management initiative, and through this he worked with scientists in the Northern Ireland service over the following years. He talks about the effects of the peace process and the difference this has made to life there compared to that lived in the 1970s. The work which he and his counterparts did, the European funding achieved and the skills required to apply for this funding are recalled. The question of whether the paper mills would have survived much longer is considered and although there were highly skilled people involved, globalisation is having a huge effect on manufacturers. He remembers the large synthetic fibre plant and the Fruit of the Loom textile company, both in Donegal, which moved to other parts of the world. In conclusion, he recalls the camaraderie which existed between the workers at Clondalkin Paper Mills.
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Appears in Collections:Clondalkin Paper Mills Oral History Collection
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