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JJ (John Joseph)O’Leary is the one at the rear with the glasses and hat.

Another early influence on founding of Aer Lingus:


Does anyone anything about JJ O’Leary?.

I have come across a few references to him over the years. Originally a civil servant.  He was the managing director of Cahills the printers who were based in Park Gate, later East Wall, Dublin and did a lot of official printing including Dáil Reports.   His period was from the 1920s until he retired in 1973.  He was reputedly the owner of Cahills and the company was sold in 1971 he retired from active business in 1977.

From Pat Campbell ‘Cahills Printers was the first company in the country to pay a female employee £1,000  per year.  Also most of their top senior management team were females. This was in place in the 1960’s when I joined the company. Clearly these appointments were made many years before that. The company was in Parkgate Street during J.J O’Leary’s time and not East Wall which came much later.’

He was one of the three who proposed the setting up of Aer Lingus in 1934.  The others were Sean Ó h-Uaghaigh and Colonel Charles Russell who was the driving force behind the project, he had been the chief of the Corps from 1922-1926.  Technical assistance was provided from Colonel Delamere then serving in the Air Corps.

O’Leary was a director of Aer Lingus and in fairness to them they deserve great credit for what we now have in the whole airline, leasing etc sector.

Other companies he was a director of included Dundalk Textiles Ltd, the Irish Press, Parkgate Printing Works, the Industrial Credit Company, at one stage he was a director of 50 companies.

In 1944 he was a director of the Industrial Credit Company Limited along with J.P.Colbert (Chairman), T. Caffrey, and M.W. O’Reilly., as well as Aer Rianta Ltd from 1943. He is with both companies in 1953 taking no fee as a director.

In 1959 there was a picture of him returning from an Aer Lingus flight from New York with Barry McGovern and John Ford.

He was a keen yachtsman being Commodore of The National Yacht Club from 1955-60, his yacht was the ‘Fara’ a 30 meter boat. He donated the Muglin’s Cup which is still awarded.  He was also a patron of the Abbey Theatre.

He was for many years a spokesman for the Irish Employers Federation at International Labour Conferences.

He looked to liberalize the static society and apparently provided £1,000 a year to Seán Ó Faoileáin to assist in the publication of ‘The Bell’ and provided an office.

He was married but separated for many years.  He had a long term relationship with Dr Thekla Beere the first woman Secretary of a Government Department.  He lived at 2 Seafield Avenue,  Monkstown Co. Dublin.  He was survived by his nephew John O’Leary, a Ryder Cup Golfer, Michael O’Leary a businessman and nieces Anne and Josie.

On the 31st December 1956 he was appointed to the Board of the Hospital Library Council.

He was active in theatrical circles. The actor Barry Fitzgerald when returning Dublin stayed with him. He was a member of the Dublin Theatre Festival Committee in 1957 and was a friend of Seán O’Casey and his wife.


The Roa Mooney (Abbey Actress) papers in the National Library contains some of his correspondence an a picture of him at an ICC board meeting..

1959 with Barry Fitzgerald on Aer Lingus flight to Barcelona.

He may have come from Co. Wexford.

The Irish Times had an obituary of him on the 19th January 1978 as did the Irish Press and Independent.

For John King’s meetings ad discussions with him: