Death of political scientist Peter Mair

Wed, Aug 17, 2011, 01:00

THE DEATH has taken place of Peter Mair, one of Ireland’s leading political scientists.

He was professor of comparative politics and government at the European University Institute in Florence.

A native of Sligo and a graduate of University College Dublin, Prof Mair (60) had a distinguished academic career and was the author of a number of books on Irish and international politics.

He died suddenly while on holidays in Ireland with his family.

Following his graduation from UCD with an MA in politics in 1974 Prof Mair began his career as an assistant professor at the University of Limerick. He subsequently lectured at the universities of Strathclyde and Manchester before moving to the European University Institute of Florence.

He moved to the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 1987 and was appointed professor of comparative politics in 1994. In 2005 he returned to Florence and was appointed head of the department of political and social sciences in 2007.

Prof Mair specialised in the study of party and party systems and has written a number of books on the subject. He was co-author of Representative Government in Modern Europe, the fifth edition of which was published this year. He was also co-author of Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability, which was awarded the ISSC-Unesco Stein Rokkan prize.

The chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Dr Maurice Manning, said last night that Prof Mair was the outstanding politics student of his time who went on to develop a world class reputation.

“He was a person of great charm and helpfulness to colleagues and students,” said Dr Manning, who was one of Prof Mair’s lecturers at UCD.