In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Industrial Development and Irish National Identity, 1922–1939, by Mary E. Daly, pp. 201, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1992, $34.95. Mary E. Daly’s book concerns the formulation of economic and industrial policy from the founding of the Free State up to the start of the “Emergency.” It is more concerned with the political and cultural context of the policies adopted by the Cumann na nGaedheal and Fianna Fáil governments than with their ultimate results , though the sometimes ironic results are duly assessed. Daly begins by outlining the considerable obstacles faced by William T. Cosgrave and his Cumann na nGaedheal colleagues: the post-World War I slump, unemployment , instability in the wake of the Irish Civil War, continued emigration, and an economy heavily dependent on agriculture and export to Britain. The 1922–27 period was marked by conservative Wscal policies that emphasized a balanced budget, free trade, and the continued dominance of cattle, biscuit, and beer exports to Britain. Fiscal responsibility extended even to the reduction of old age and widows’ pensions. Cosgrave and his cabinent frowned on state intervention in the economy and protection for Irish industry. Some headway was made by protectionist advocates after 1927, but Daly details how an extremely dilatory TariV Commission and other oYcial foot-dragging prevented any real move toward protection . Daly praises the Cosgrave government for maintaining stability and the Free State’s good credit, while noting that the bulk of its policies tended to follow British policies closely and did not reduce emigration or the traditional dominance of export-oriented cattle farming. Fianna Fáil took over in 1932 with an interventionist and protectionist program designed to increase tillage, keep more people on the land and oV the emigrant ships, build decentralized home industries, increase male employment, and foster economic self-suYciency. De Valéra envisioned an Ireland infused with the antimaterialist values of the hard-working Irish yeoman farmer, providing a full measure of virtuous “frugal comfort” to its citizens. Daly characterizes the agenda expressed in de Valéra’s 1932 League of Nations speech as “an amalgam of nationalist and quasi-socialist policies often stolen from the manifestoes of left-wing republican organizations, tempered by Gaelic antiquarianism and Catholic social teaching. . . .” TariVs and incentives to industry were intended to point the Free State in this direction, the eVort led by Séan Lemass and his supporters. Daly is particularly adroit in pointing out the contradictions inherent in Fianna Fáil’s policy . Industrialization was to be achieved while preserving the nation’s rural character , largely ignoring the growing cities and the plight of the urban poor. Self-suYciency was to come about without the scourge of foreign investment, yet there was very little Irish capital available for investment. The impetus for decentralization, protection and native control often worked against eYciency and productivity. The results of Fianna Fáil’s protectionism and economic war with Britain were a substantial growth in employment and housing, an increase in social services, inBOOK REVIEWS 179 creased prices and ineYciency in Free State industry, and a continued Xow of emigration to Britain and the United States after the worst of the Depression was over. Initially, large cattle farmers were hurt by Fianna Fáil’s policies in the 1930s, but they returned to their favored position when the economic war was settled in 1938. The economic war had sprung from political motives. Its settlement was a victory for de Valéra, as the Treaty ports were in Free State hands, millions of pounds were saved on land annuities, and Free State sovereignty was aYrmed. Daly also notes that a consensus emerged on the economic issues of the day, as the 1938 agreement forged a new alliance between the “owner-occupying farmers, protected manufacturers, and equally protected industrial workers.” The exporting cattle farmers gained access to the British market on the best terms, and industry continued to be protected. Thus, Fianna Fáil’s economic policy proved to be rather conservative and showed a surprising continuity with the past. There was never any substantial change in Wnancial policy or institutions; the economy was still based on agricultural exports to the British market, and...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 179-180
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.