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John Redmond, MP 1856-1918

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voltaire60
1 hour ago, Jervis said:


I agree the posts seems somewhat out of place and seems to be addressing issues that war not previously raised in this thread. However I would like to comment on this post, mostly in a urban context. 

 

There was compulsory purchase orders during the war. For example the Military authorities requisitioned all hay and fodder within a 10 mile radius of Dublin and fixed prices. The knock on affect caused starvation for the cities horses and cattle. The diaries were very hard hit and the output of milk dropped and pushed up prices, causing hardship of the city's poor. Consequently the infant mortality rate in the city rose. (From 141 to 155 per thousand). 

 

Restrictive government policy, additional importation and shipping costs (not to mention cost of loss due to German submarines), less bargaining power (relative to England) and good old fashioned war profiteering led to massive price inflation in Ireland and prices were significantly more expensive compared to the English market. e.g. The cost of Sugar near trebled in 1914 and cost 41% more than in London. All Basic food stuffs cost more in Ireland. Example price inflation on Bread (70%) meat (190%) potatoes (250%) between 1914 to 1917. 

 

Inevitably public opinion was inflamed as cattle and horses starved to death. 
In 1916 the fodder crop awaiting export was set alight on the docks destroying 1,400 tons of fodder. 

 

Another point worth making is, as the Government mobilised to a war economy, non war industries were shut down. Outside of Belfast, Ireland had no war industry and was much harder hit by Government policy. All major employers in the cities were shut down (e.g. Guinness) creating large scale unemployment at a time of rising prices. This caused major hardship particularly among the towns and cities. Whether by accident or design the only obvious way out for most urban poor was the army and the coveted separation allowance for family men. 

 

All of the above created resentment against the military authorities and the War became increasingly unpopular as seen in the drop in recruitment from 1916 onwards. This resentment obviously carried over into the post war troubles.

 

 

   Very interesting stuff-  I am finding it difficult to get hold of reliable price series for the war years (There is some Board of Trade and Min.Pensions stuff listed at TNA, done for pension calculations in c.1919-but generally, Irish sttaistics for the war years are a problem-the unpublished annual reports for this-and-that in TNA llok promising).

     May I ask what the sources for the Dublin price indices are.  Yes, food restrictions are a reliable indicator of control by other means-or even taxation by other means??  The food price inflation is problematic-are these Dublin retail prices or All-Ireland wholesale/retail- the export of food to England certainly saw rising prices. As to food prices, they have to be run as indices against wage rises., to see what the real outcomes were.  Given the food shortages across warring Western Europe, then Dublin did not come off too badly.  But a grievance born is a grievance nursed. That was certainly true.

 

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Edited by voltaire60

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Jervis

No research done by me, simple regurgitation from Padraig Yeates 'Dublin - a city at war". I checked, he does not explicitly reference the source for prices quoted.  However he does reference the minutes of the Dublin chamber of commerce 1913 to 1922 relating to the causes of price discrepancy between London and Dublin. I suspect actual pricing indexes come from same source. He also points out the wholesale prices in Dublin exceeded retail price in London. 

Edited by Jervis

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voltaire60
26 minutes ago, Jervis said:

No research done by me, simple regurgitation from Padraig Yeates 'Dublin - a city at war". I checked, he does not explicitly reference the source for prices quoted.  However he does reference the minutes of the Dublin chamber of commerce 1913 to 1922 relating to the causes of price discrepancy between London and Dublin. I suspect actual pricing indexes come from same source. He also points out the wholesale prices in Dublin exceeded retail price in London. 

 

   Thanks for that- I had glanced at the book a while back and suspected that the Chamber of Commerce records might be the source. It's the same over here-the very extensive records of the London Chamber of Commerce, now at London Metropolitan Archives, are a largely untouched goldmine for all sorts of City of London economic stuff.

   In regard to Irish statistics, I suspect that there is a chunk of materials tucked away but I am just too daft to spot where it is on "Discovery".  Before the war, the Board of Trade generated regular statistics on "Cost of Living"-including reports on continental cities and states (The one on Germany is extensive-well known and very interesting). My suspicion is that the Ministry of Food must have kept an eye on Irish price indices for the major foodstuffs. If only I could see where. I'm pretty sure that materials were generated- not only straight "official" but London departments such as the Board of Trade would often go back again and again to reliable local non-official sources-eg Trade Unions for statistics of unemployment. It is most unlikely given the importance of Irish food production,let alone the political situation,that a very close eye was kept on Irish cost of living stats.

      A recurring problem of Irish economic history is that "Irish" statistics are not that reliable at a national level-  A recurring debate about the Famine is the amount of food produced and how Ireland kept exporting food at a time of severe famine. The answer, of course, is that the Irish food distribution network was comparatively disorganised compared to either England-or even Scotland,where there was a severe famine as well. The problem,thus, is whether Dublin statistics  hold good  for the whole country-  Dublin and Cork represent the relatively wealthy eastern ports with their productive agricultural hinterlands. Compared to the west of Ireland,with a poor-ish agriculture and poor market networks. And,of course, high food prices betoken the ability of the market to pay them -rather than being left unsold. 

    Still a lot of interesting stuff to come along and illumine the wartime military and political situation in Ireland- all of it a background to the eclipse of Redmond,Dillon and the IPP.  The more I look at it, the more it seems that British economic management of Ireland during the war was ,in terms of economic policy, very sophisticated indeed-a "hidden hand" -hidden,perhaps, by the voice of the republican narrative. and the "inevitability" of independence. My view is that there was no such inevitability until the very end of the war- and that-compared to how things kicked off in Germany- the British position in Ireland remained comparatively secure for the post-Rising years of the war.

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