Industrialization in Ireland

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When Ireland began to industrialize in the 1960s and 1970s, why did it mostly occur in rural Ireland and what were the consequences for the rural residence?

Industrialisation in the 1960s and 1970s.
When most people in the world think of Ireland, they imagine green fields with farm animals, old cottages, stone walls, rocky roads, people riding around on horse-back and men working in the bogs. However Ireland actually has one of the quickest fastest economies in the world. Rural Industrialisation played a huge role in this growth. Industrialisation is a very important part of Irish history. It was a new beginning for the Irish people living in rural areas and it created a change in gender composition within the labour force. Women were now earning their own money from working in the factories, they were attending social events and they were more independent as they did not need permission from husbands, fathers or brothers to attend such events. It has been the catalyst of social change. However there were consequences that came with this new development that cannot be forgotten.

Industrialisation began mainly in rural areas in the 1960s and 1970s. Before it occurred, Mayo had the second highest percentage in population decline and the unemployment rates were seventy percent. It also had very high rates of poverty and emigration. A percentage of fifty six of the working population was in agriculture, a percentage of twenty nine worked in services and fifteen percent worked in industries. In 1996 the census showed that most of the male population worked in industry while sixteen percent of the female population worked in services. The main industrial areas at that time were Cork, Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. In 1958, the civil servants decided protectionism was a failed strategy. They decided to set up the IDA as a source of employment. The multinational firms were set up post World War 2 in rural areas. They provided two thousand one hundred jobs throughout Irish rural areas and one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five of these jobs were held by women.

The multinational companies chose rural areas in Ireland to set up their firms. They moved from core regions to peripheral regions because farmers were powerful in the 1950s therefore they could provide resources such as farm produce, tanning and spinning wool for the factories. Because of that they located in areas such as Shannon and Mayo rather than the core region of Dublin. They wanted to employ women in these firms as they felt that women ‘naturally’ had a dexterity that men didn’t have. Men never engaged in those types of activities whereas women would have learned them from their mothers. Ireland at this time had low labour costs and export profit tax relief and this was very beneficial for the multinational firms. These factories like to be isolated so that they will have no connection with local areas except for a labour force and this was possible in rural areas. Multinational firms are ‘footloose’, they can be located anywhere around the world. They have remained in Ireland since 1952 so that they can remain in the European loop.

There were many consequences for the residence of these rural areas. The local politicians felt under pressure as their door was knocked on if there were any disputes with these multinational companies. Families went to politicians with their disputes, the politician would go to the IDA with the dispute, the IDA would investigate the dispute and inform the Taoiseach. This became known as dependant industrialisation. There were consequences in households where women worked in the factories and the males roles were changing. The man of the house would do the washing up and the school run instead of the woman for the first time. Farm work was substantially lower for part time farmers than for full time farmers. This was due to part time farmers working full time in the industrial factories and working part time on the...
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