Thursday 8 December 2016

The heroes of 1916 were economically clueless and the nation paid for it

Published 11/11/2015 | 02:30

Ruins on what is now O’Connell Street, Dublin, after the 1916 Rising. The decades leading up to the Rising were a period of relative prosperity for those who didn’t emigrate – despite the narrative of ‘rich Britain subjugating poor Ireland’
Ruins on what is now O’Connell Street, Dublin, after the 1916 Rising. The decades leading up to the Rising were a period of relative prosperity for those who didn’t emigrate – despite the narrative of ‘rich Britain subjugating poor Ireland’

As we are about to embark on a year of celebrating 1916 and the birth of the nation, maybe it's a good idea to stand back and ask what 1916 did for the economy.

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The last time I checked, you couldn't buy bread with slogans, speeches and flags, so isn't it a good idea to ask what happened to living standards and economic opportunity after the Rising?

What was the economic and financial backdrop to the Rising? And what economic policies were followed to ensure that the pledge to "cherish all the children of the nation equally" (which was intended to refer to Unionists rather than the poor) was underpinned by financial reality?

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