Andrews, Christopher Stephen (‘Todd’) (1901–85), revolutionary, public servant, and writer, was born 6 October 1901 at 42 Summerhill, central Dublin, elder of two sons of Christopher Andrews, of Dublin, and Mary (‘Molly’) Andrews (née Moran), daughter of a DMP inspector. In his ninth year he moved with his family to Terenure, where his father had a grocery shop. He was educated at St Enda's (the school of Patrick Pearse (qv)), Synge St. CBS, and UCD. The nickname ‘Todd’, which stuck to him all his life, was derived from a fancied resemblance to ‘Alonzo Todd’, a character in the Magnet, a British boys’ paper of the time.
Politicised by the 1916 rising, Andrews joined the Irish Volunteers in March 1917 and fought with the Rathfarnham company of the 4th Dublin Brigade during the war of independence. Arrested by the British authorities in April 1920, he spent ten days on hunger strike in Mountjoy prison, and was released soon afterwards. In June 1921 he was interned in the Curragh camp by the British, but tunnelled his way to freedom with two comrades. After the truce of July 1921, he was appointed to GHQ staff and travelled the country supervising the training of IRA volunteers. He enrolled in UCD to study chemistry but abandoned his studies after the signing of the Anglo–Irish treaty of 1921, which he opposed. During the civil war he fought with the anti-treaty IRA and was wounded in the fighting in O'Connell St. after the siege of the Four Courts. Later he made his way to Munster and was adjutant to Liam Lynch (qv), chief of staff of the anti-treaty IRA. Andrews was arrested in Cork and interned after the civil war until early 1924.
On his release he returned to his studies in UCD, graduating B.Comm. He subsequently worked for the Irish Tourist Association (the predecessor of Bord Fáilte) and the Electricity Supply Board. He became managing director of the Turf Development Board in 1934, later to evolve into Bord na Mona. Journeys to Germany and the Soviet Union convinced him of the viability of the idea of processing turf (peat) for electric power and as a home-heating substitute for English coal. In 1946 he became managing director of Bord na Mona, which he developed into a thriving company, and eventually left it in 1958 to become executive chairman of CIÉ. In that capacity, he closed down over a dozen railway lines that were regarded as non-viable and unnecessary in the age of the motor car; Andrews was consistently in favour of the small and modest private motor car as the vehicle of the future. His decision to close down the Harcourt St.–Bray suburban railway line in 1959 has been controversial ever since, and was looked on with unease by Éamon de Valera (qv). He explained that he got tired of watching a few privileged Freemasons from Foxrock using it to go into their meetings in Trinity College ‘at the taxpayer's expense’. CIÉ's management and finances were reorganised comprehensively under the aegis of Andrews. He encountered severe difficulties with the trade unions in the CIÉ group and regarded his problems with the unionised workers to be the greatest failure of his career.
He retired from CIÉ at age 65, and in June 1966 he became chairman of the RTÉ Authority; he was very much eye-to-eye with Seán Lemass (qv) in seeing RTÉ as an instrument of state policy, a common enough attitude toward semi-state bodies and state-subsidised cultural institutions at the time. He stood over several decisions to suppress programmes that were seen to be overly critical of government policy. Andrews resigned in 1970, partly to avoid any possible conflict of interest when his son David was appointed chief whip of Fianna Fáil. He wrote two classic essays in Irish political autobiography, Dublin made me (1979) and Man of no property (1982), which, because of their honesty and directness of opinion, are indispensable sources for the history of the period. They are also quite deliberately self-revealing, and form core sources for the emotional climate of the Irish revolution. In a generation of Irish political leaders and public servants that was notoriously reluctant to write reminiscences, Andrews was an unusual exception, and for that reason very welcome to historians and social scientists.
Andrews was a strong believer in state-sponsored enterprise and in state intervention in the economy; he had a certain admiration for statist approaches to economic problems on the lines of those he had seen in Germany and the Soviet Union in connection with the exploitation of peat bogs for purposes of fuel. Andrews, like many in his generation of Fianna Fáil, would have seen himself as a radical, and even as a man of the left. For some time in the 1970s he wrote an opinion column (‘Gallimaufry’) in de Valera's Irish Press; he never deviated from his belief that Ireland's problems could not really be tackled properly unless the British left Northern Ireland, permitted the reunification of Northern Ireland and the Republic, and renounced all claims to govern any part of the island. On issues such as divorce and contraception he was quite liberal by the standards of his time and generation; he disliked catholic church power in political life and had a pronounced anti-clerical streak, derived from his republican background and from the experience of being excommunicated by the catholic bishops during the civil war. He was a man of direct and even violently held opinion; in Bord na Mona there was a standing joke about the man who was employed to head off the strikes ‘Todd’ was provoking by his forthrightness.
Andrews was awarded honorary doctorates by the NUI, by TCD, and by QUB. He was president of the Institute of Management and of the Institute of Public Administration. He lived most of his adult life in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. He married first (1928) Mary Coyle of Dublin (d. 1967). He died 11 October 1985 and was survived by his second wife, Joyce (née Duffy; m. 1967), a daughter, and three sons, two of the sons being Fianna Fáil members of Dáil Éireann: David Andrews (b. 1935) was TD for Dún Laoghaire (1965–2002), minister for foreign affairs (1992–3, 1997–2000), minister for defence and for the marine (1993–4), and minister for defence (June–October 1997); Niall Andrews (qv) was TD for Dublin South (1977–87) and MEP for Dublin (1984–2004). Two grandsons also became Fianna Fáil TDs: Barry Andrews (b. 1967) for Dún Laoghaire in 2002, and Chris Andrews (b. 1965) for Dublin South-East in 2007.