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Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939$
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Cormac Gráda Ó

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205982.001.0001

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Commercial Policy and the Economic War

Commercial Policy and the Economic War

(p.406) 16 Commercial Policy and the Economic War
Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939

Cormac Ó Gráda

Oxford University Press

The Irish Free State contributed more than its share to the worldwide ‘trade destruction’ of the 1930s. While the combined merchandise trade (imports plus exports, measured in gold US dollars) of fourteen other small European economies dropped by 54% between 1929 and 1938 that of the Free State fell by 64%. Few other countries fared worse than Ireland by this measure. Irish economists, then and since, have argued that the damage suffered by Ireland during the Great Depression was also more than commensurate; worse still, that it was largely self-inflicted, the product of mistaken economic policies. Some of these arguments are discussed in this chapter. An appendix on the role of cattle smuggling is included. The ‘Economic War’, an Anglo–Irish row that began with the refusal of the Fianna Fáil government to continue paying certain ‘land annuities’ arising out of the Treaty settlement of 1921, is also examined, along with tariffs and imports.

Keywords:   Ireland, Economic War, trade, cattle smuggling, land annuities, Irish Free State, imports, economic policies, tariffs

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