Prof Louis Smith was an economist and lecturer who also played a key role in the co-operative movement, and in establishing the National Farmers Association (IFA). The youngest of eight children Louis Smith was born in Crossdoney, Co Cavan to Isabel and Dr Frederick Smith in December 1923. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College and studied economics and history in UCD and law in King’s Inns. In 1950 he began working with the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society as organiser of co-operatives. In 1954 Macra Na Feirme recruited Louis as an economic advisor to help develop policy for the nascent National Farmers Association which would be set up six months later. He was the third person to be employed by the NFA in Earlsfort Terrace. Louis initially combined his work with lecturing in in UCD’s Department of Political Economy before leaving the NFA, and eventually becoming the emeritus professor of economics (international trade) at UCD. Professor Louis Smith retained his interest in all things agricultural and in the 1960’s/70’s wrote a column in the Irish Independent, under the pen Agricola, which is the Latin word for farmer. Smith was one of the seven original signatories of the articles of association that founded the Irish Council of the European Movement in 1954, other signatories included Dr Garret Fitzgerald and George Colley.
Prof Smith also had time for writing and was the author of Evolution of Agriculture Co-operation in 1961 and co-author of Elementary Economics in 1963; Milk to Market – A History of Dublin Milk Supply in 1989 and Farm Organisations in Ireland a – A Century of progress in 1996.