Thursday 26 April 2018

Independence: It's not just the economy, stupid

A 'Financial Times' article warning Scotland off independence and citing the Irish example of economic failure is a recklessly inaccurate analysis

Prosperity: Alex Salmond insisted an independent Scotland could build a ‘Celtic Lion’. Photo: Niall Carson.
Prosperity: Alex Salmond insisted an independent Scotland could build a ‘Celtic Lion’. Photo: Niall Carson.
Change: Ex-Taoiseach Jack Lynch and Finance Secretary TK Whitaker, who were key to Ireland’s development, board a plane for talks with then British PM Harold Wilson in 1966

Diarmaid Ferriter

During the crucial 1918 General Election campaign in Ireland, Sinn Féin not only promised its candidates would boycott the Westminster Parliament if elected and press for the establishment of an Irish Republic, but also insisted it would transform the Irish economy.

It claimed that as a result of the incompetence of the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), which had dominated politics for decades, "Ireland has lost half her wealth in manpower and her expenses have increased 17 times". Ireland, it maintained, was overtaxed, exploited and economically underperforming due to British imperialism and IPP collusion.

SF's promise, as underlined by one of its pamphlets with the title 'The Irish Republic Can Pay Its Way', was a transformed economy that would ensure "Irish sons and daughters will not fly from an impoverished Ireland into the Godless cities of the world".

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