The Irish Republic as ‘Postcolonial’ Polity
This chapter examines the arguments over the Irish Republic as a ‘neo-colony’ or ‘postcolonial’ state. Since the 1920s and 1970s, a substantial body of writing has sought to analyse the Irish Free State and later Republic either as ‘neocolonial’, that is, overwhelmingly dependent on the United Kingdom or some other foreign power, or ‘postcolonial’ or substantially shaped and determined still by the legacies of British rule. The economic ‘neocolonialism’ case depends on a claim about persisting Irish dependence and British exploitation, and that Ireland's economy would have performed better, developed and probably industrialised more rapidly, and avoided the extremes of emigration and depopulation, without Britain's interference. The ‘modernisation’ or ‘Europeanisation’ of Ireland has thus been associated with secularisation and ‘detraditionalisation’. By every indicator of public opinion, Ireland has become virtually the most enthusiastically integrationist of all European Union member states.
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