Lecture 15 Ireland: 1957-1972

Lecture 15
Ireland: 1957-1972
• FF returned to power in 1957
with 77 seats in a Dáil of 147
• De Valera finally resigned in
• Sean Lemass became party
leader and Taoiseach.
• Lemass introduced new and
younger blood into the party
Ireland in the 1950s
• Ireland had been left behind
economically and socially
• The country had become
increasingly poor and irrelevant
Lemass and economic change
• ‘Ironically…the protectionist apparatus
of the 1930s was in large part the
brainchild of Sean Lemass, who was
Minister for Industry and Commerce
for most of the years between 1932
and 1959.’
• Lemass ‘was the instigator of not one,
but two historic reversals of economic
policy, one in 1932 and the other in
Garvin, T., Preventing the Future, p7.
Why was Ireland so poor for so
• The Catholic Church – blocked
economic change
• Mindset of the generation of the
national revolution
• Clientelist system
‘It is no coincidence that Ireland’s
economic upturn occurred half a
generation after the general
Western economic lift-off in 1960
rather than in 1946; the upturn in
Ireland coincided with, and was
permitted by, the fading away of
the generation of the national
Garvin, Preventing the Future, p33.
Economic planning
• May 1958: T.K. Whitaker’s
Economic Development
delivered to government
• Nov 1958: a White Paper
derived from it was
published under the title
Programme for Economic
Programme for Economic Expansion
• Regarded as a blueprint for modernization
• Projected a 2 per cent annual increased in
GNP over the following 5 years.
• Highlighted the need for a change in
direction away from protectionist policies.
• Called for a five-year investment
• Recognised the importance of foreign
investment and export led growth.
The volume of GNP in 1958
was 2.5% below the level
of 1955 and only 6.5%
above the level in 1951.
From 1960 to 1967 the
economy expanded at a
rate of 4% per annum
Consequences of economic
• The average annual emigration rate
(per 1000 of the population) stood at
about 14 between 1951 and 1961.
• It dropped to less than 5 between
1961 and 1971.
• 44,427 emigrated in 1961
• Only 12,226 emigrated in 1963.
• By 1966 the population had risen by
Consequences of economic
• The standard of living rose
• Progress was made in terms of welfare
provision for the underprivileged
• The educational system underwent
far-reaching change – secondary
education is open to all in 1966
• Censorship was relaxed
• Irish television service launched in
Irish family on holiday in
the 1960s
In 1960 female
received 53% of
the male rate,
which was to
rise only to
54% in 1969
and 59% in
A married woman was still
regarded as the chattel of her
There was still a marriage bar
for women in the Civil Service
Irish women workers earned
only 55% of men's wages
Many widows after a lifetime
in the home ended their days
in degrading poverty
IWLM manifesto
Published in early
Attention was needed to the
plight of unwed mothers,
deserted wives, and those with
broken marriages.
IWLM tactics
Radical confrontation
Expressive and
spontaneous action
Consciousness raising
Effective use of
media, including
newspaper, radio and
Charles Haughey (centre)
with his solicitor and a
Woman crossing O’Connell
Street, Dublin, 1969