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The article states that Lyons relinquished the post of Provost of Trinity College Dublin in 1981 to concentrate on writing. I think the term for provost is currently set at seven years. If this were true in Lyons' time, it would appear likely that he stepped down at the end of his term rather than seeking re-election. To me, this would put a slightly different slant on his decision, if it were the case, but I can't find information on provosts' terms one way or the other.