PSI is 50!

Founded in 1970, this year marks 50 years of The Psychological Society of Ireland




The year 2020 not only marks the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the 50th anniversary of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Rewind back 50 years to 16 May 1970 to where 96 psychologists attended a meeting, chaired by James McLoone, in the Mater Hospital Auditorium and the founding of the Society. Although that is the date that the PSI was officially founded, much work was undertaken in the previous two years to allow for the birth of the Society.


How did the PSI begin?

In December 1968, Críona Garvey, Thérèse Brady and James McLoone had a meeting where it was agreed that the time was right to take an initiative towards establishing a psychological association in Ireland. It was decided to invite a representative group of psychologists to a meeting to progress the establishment of such an association. At a meeting at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin in February 1969, Críona, Thérèse, James were joined by a group of psychologists and it was unanimously agreed that a new association was needed. The next step was to seek a mandate from a general meeting of psychologists.

The general meeting was arranged and saw an attendance of 70 psychologists. The meeting agreed to found an association of psychologists, to elect a working party ‘to investigate the steps necessary for the formation of such a society’ and report back to another general meeting in six-months’ time. The working party that was elected then formed sub-committees to explore names and functions for the proposed association, as well as studying other organisations’ constitutions and consulting with the heads of psychology departments.

Seven meetings of the working party, as well as several meetings of sub-committees, were held between May and November 1969 when proposals were ready for presentation to another general meeting of psychologists.

The second general meeting, held in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin, on 8 November 1969, focused on the structure of the association, as well as the aims and functions, membership, and code of ethics. From the meeting it was decided that the working party should draft a constitution to be circulated prior to the next general meeting, which would be the founding meeting. The draft constitution was to be accepted at the founding meeting as the provisional constitution, with a final constitution being later approved by members of the association.

The working party initiated work on a draft constitution, taking into consideration the reports from sub-committees and discussion from the general meeting. It was agreed that the new association would be called The Psychological Society of Ireland, as the initials PSI seemed particularly appropriate. The Irish language version of the name would be Cumann Síceolaithe Éireann. A code of ethics would be agreed on at a later point. Five meetings of the working party, and several meetings of smaller groups, were required to reach agreement on a draft constitution which was ready for circulation to all psychologists in advance of the founding meeting.

The founding meeting, attracting an attendance of 96 psychologists and chaired by James McLoone, was held in the Mater Hospital Auditorium on 16 May 1970, one year after the first general meeting of psychologists. The meeting unanimously adopted the constitution as proposed and The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) came into being. An adjournment of the meeting allowed for the election of the first PSI Council - Paul Andrews, Thérèse Brady, Brendan Connolly, Críona Garvey, Brian Glanville, Ian Hart, Sally Jackson, Páid McGee, Martin McHugh, James McLoone, Michael Nolan, E.F. O’Doherty, Desmond Poole, Rod Power and Leo Smyth, with Ann Maloney being co-opted. The following were elected as officers - Martin McHugh as President, James McLoone as President-elect, Thérèse Brady as Secretary, and Críona Garvey as Treasurer. It was agreed at the founding meeting that the PSI annual membership fee would be £10.



With Martin McHugh (pictured below) having the honour of being PSI's first President, 49 members have followed in his footsteps including the 2020 President Mark Smyth. A full list of Society Presidents can be viewed here

  Prof. Martin McHugh pictured at the PSI 40th anniversary Annual Conference in 2010  


50th Anniversary Celebrations

To commemorate 50 years of the PSI, a documentary is being produced that tells the history of the Society. This was due for screening in May 2020; however, the release date has been postponed due to the pandemic. Further details on this will be available later in the year. Other initiatives were also planned, such as a summer social event, a complete digital archive of The Irish Psychologist (IP), and some free training events for PSI members.

Although we have had to put much of these plans on hold, we intend of celebrating the PSI's 50th birthday so during the week beginning Monday 11 May we will be sharing some wonderful flashbacks and birthday wishes from friends and colleagues. We welcome you to share your memories too by using #MyPSI.

Make sure to check back on this page for updates and keep an eye on PSI's social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).


Happy 50th birthday PSI: Members' wishes & thoughts on the Society

On 16 May 1970, the Psychological Society of Ireland officially came into being. We spoke with a range of members, including some founding members & PSI Presidents, as they wished us happy birthday & told us what it means to be part of the PSI.



Happy Birthday from our President Mark Smyth!

PSI President Mark Smyth sends this lovely message to all members and colleagues on the eve of the PSI's golden anniversary!



Happy Birthday from Society Members!

Our members are our Society and without them, the PSI would not exist. As we celebrate PSI's 50th anniversary, we celebrate our wonderful members. Here are just a few wishing PSI a happy birthday! Share your wishes with us using #MyPSI



Happy Birthday from the PSI Staff!

In celebrating PSI's 50th anniversary this week, the PSI staff have put together this lovely video wishing the Society and all of its members a wonderful Happy Birthday! Thank you - Shane, Lisa, Mayra, Marianne, Alison, Karen & Eimear



Please note: The information above in the 'How did the PSI begin' section was sourced from an article entitled The beginnings of PSI, written by James McLoone and published in the Irish Journal of Psychology (Volume 35, 2014 - Issue 1: The history of the Psychological Society of Ireland part 2. Taylor&Francis).