IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Mr. Whitaker and Industry:Setting the Record Straight

Listed author(s):

    (Trinity College Dublin)


    (University College Dublin)

Registered author(s):

    After 16 years of unbroken Fianna Fáil rule, the first four of the five general elections of the period 1948-1963 saw sitting governments unseated. Economic policy pivoted: protectionism was abandoned; foreign direct investment welcomed and an application for membership was made to the EEC. Whitaker’s Economic Development appeared in 1958. Lemass took over from de Valera as Taoiseach in 1959. The ‘long 1950s’ remains of enduring fascination to Irish historians. Conventional wisdom accords the bulk of the credit for the turnaround in policy to Seán Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce in most Fianna Fáil governments since 1932 and Taoiseach from 1959 to 1966, and T. K. Whitaker, Secretary of the Department of Finance from 1956 to 1969. This arguably downplays the importance of the intensified electoral competition of the time, and undervalues the achievements of the second inter-party government, which introduced export profits tax relief – the genesis of Ireland’s low corporation tax regime – in 1956. Fine Gael and Labour had long advocated liberalising the restrictions on foreign ownership of industry before Fianna Fáil finally yielded (Bew and Patterson, 1982, McCarthy, 1990). Whitaker’s particular role in the reform process is – to our minds – seriously misrepresented by Walsh and Whelan (2010) in a recent paper in this journal. The present note assesses their main assertions in this regard in the light of information available from the archival records.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: First version,2011
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 159-168

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:42:y:2011:i:2:p:159-168
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Patrick Paul Walsh & Ciara Whelan, 2010. "Hirschman and Irish Industrial Policy," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 41(3), pages 283-299.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:42:y:2011:i:2:p:159-168. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Lawless)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.