4. 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 residents?
Ireland went through industrial transformation in the period of the 1960s and 1970s. This essay will argue that the changes were felt more and had a greater impact on rural Ireland. Using documentary evidence and primary sources of information this essay will show that these changes affected areas such as, economy, families, rural communities and in particular, women. The government’s role in industrialisation will be acknowledged as having a positive and negative effect on rural society. This essay will also show that, along with the upwardly mobilisation of Ireland, new problems arose out of industrialisation that would require attention and legislation with regards to the new roles women would play in employment. Inequality and gender discrimination are two of these problems that this essay will show had negative effects due to industrialisation. The consequences for rural residents were also double sided, along with a prosperous new consumer society, lower unemployment and the need for emigration being reduced, came the importance of the farm and keeping the name on the land disappeared, with new industry came new social problems and people had to mobilise themselves to compete for employment, thus the countryside went through ecological change.
The industrialisation of Ireland beginning in the period of the 1960s meant there would be a significant shift from the agrarian culture to the industrial era, and industry became the main factor in the working society. Ireland prior to the 1960s was traditionally an agricultural nation but economic growth was stale, emigration levels were high and in the west of Ireland in particular, low unemployment led to poverty and depression. As will be stated later, change was needed and this new wave of industry which was a break away from the assembly line style of production known as Fordism, instead the concept of post-Fordism which is a more flexible and diverse style of production was upon Ireland. Companies had to restructure their production styles to accommodate the consumer at home and abroad, by having flexible working practises, global locations and in time delivery services (Slater 1995). In Rural Ireland the effects these industries had on the local farming community would change the face of farming forever. The new roles women would take up in the family unit and the boost in revenue due to women now working outside of the farm was immense. On the down side the functionality of the family also changed, but not in a good sense, as women were no longer the main influence on children’s lives. The dynamics of the family had to readjust to fit in line with industrialisation.
With the onset of modern industrialisation, Ireland had to change from an import to an export led development state, in order to compete with its European neighbours or face being left behind. As the western world was changing, Ireland had to change with it. In 1949 the founding of the Industrial Development Authority was central to the government’s plans for economic change in Ireland. The IDA along with the backing of the government had access to discretionary funds to use in the aggressive pursuit of direct foreign investment to Ireland. This meant setting up links with America and Europe but America would be the main area for the IDA to operate and attract large multi nationals companies to Ireland. During the 1950s there was a period of transition when Ireland was changing both socially and economically and economic growth was slow until 1958, when, according to Pyle (1990) “the change was formalised by two 1958 government documents, Economic Development and the first Programme for Economic Expansion” (p.18). Although progress was slow, it was not until 1973 when Ireland entered the EEC that significant change was seen, as companies...
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