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From submarines for tourism, to the Legion of Mary for Russians

The latest batch of State papers in the National Archives released last week reveal the workings of a government which, then as now, was under considerable economic and political pressures. Jack Lynch's return to power in 1977 with an unprecedented majority might have provided a solid base for realistic economic management; rather it saw an indiscriminate spending splurge, which was to compound the serious economic problems facing the State.

Adjustment to membership of the European Community was to have its costs as well as its enormous benefits.