In 1975, Ireland was saddled with a stagnating economy, high unemployment, considerable social unrest, net emigration and continued dependency on England for its economic and political sustenance. Repeated attempts at import-substitution-industrialisation (ISI) after the partition and granting of independence to the southern 26 counties in 1922 had not reduced the Republic’s dependence on agriculture as the principal source of hard currency revenues, and what existed in the way of manufacturing was small-scale, inefficient, labour intensive and limited in focus on the small internal market. Despite the pressures exacerbated by a wage-price spiral, recent national wage accords aimed at solving the problem had failed due to sectoral non-compliance. Even after the adoption of an export-oriented light industrialisation development model from the late 1950s, the South was still disadvantaged by the historical concentration of Ireland’s manufacturing base in the North — especially in and near Belfast (Figure 4.1).
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Paul G. Buchanan
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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