Courtesy Reuters

Ireland's Economic Outlook

IN terms of European politics Ireland is one of the small countries which had to be "reconstructed" after the war. The task was not undertaken by the great and wise at Versailles or Geneva, but by the British Parliament, which could not allow the seven centuries old "Irish Question" to complicate the settlement of its own post-war Imperial problems. This is not the place to criticize the extraordinary form the reconstruction took. It will suffice to say that Ireland, hitherto regarded as one country, was made two, the most unnatural political and fiscal barrier being erected between its six northeastern counties and the other twenty-six. The smaller area contains a million and a quarter out of the four million and a quarter population of the island. The United Kingdom now consists of Great Britain and "Northern Ireland." The latter sends representatives to the Imperial Parliament and has a Parliament of its own.

The quality of these Ulstermen is best seen in the fruits of their labor. Upon a relatively infertile soil they have developed an amazingly productive agriculture. Their holdings being small, coöperation is essential if they are to maintain a fair standing of comfort. But their intense individualism makes it hard to organize coöperation amongst them. In their non-agricultural life they have to their credit their twin world-famed shipbuilding and linen industries. Here, manufacture is cheapened by the employment of whole families. The problem which confronts Northern Ireland is not that of creating new industries, but of safe-guarding linen and shipbuilding from the ravages of post-war reaction. The "luxury liner" in which the great yards of Harland and Wolff and Workman and Clark specialized is no longer in demand. Ulster linen, the staple industry of the province, has been even harder hit. Since the war its raw material, drawn largely from Russia, has been obtainable only at extortionate prices; the depreciated exchanges of the Continent have enabled French and Belgian competitors to under-sell the Irish manufacturer. Formerly the

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