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Ireland Under the Union

Alan Heesom discusses 19th-century politics either side of the Irish Sea.

Dr Garrett Fitzgerald, the Irish Taoiseach (Premier), in his Dimbleby Lecture for 1982, claimed that Britain's economic gains had frequently been at Ireland's expense; that low-cost Irish competition with Britain was suppressed in the eighteenth century; that Britain pursued a cheap-food policy at the expense of Ireland from the mid-nineteenth century onwards; that absentee British landlords had drained resources in the form of rents from Ireland; and that throughout the nineteenth century Britain had extracted taxation in excess of its expenditure in. Ireland. And he concluded with the reflection that 'it might be better for both our countries if facts like these featured as prominently in history taught in your schools as they have in the history taught in ours '.

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