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date: 20 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the evolution of business and industry in Ireland since the eighteenth century. Manufacturing industry, together with financial services, is discussed alongside some key contributions to historiography. The geographically wide spread of industrial activity in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the subsequent increasing localization up to 1914 is then noted. While Dublin and Cork led Belfast in the earlier period, Belfast emerged as Ireland’s premier industrial and commercial city from the mid nineteenth century, with a strong unionist element among its business leaders. The economic problems of post-partition Ireland, both north and south, led to more interventionist action by the Belfast and Dublin governments to support manufacturing industry and in the second half of the twentieth century there was more emphasis on attracting new foreign firms. The financial crisis and austerity measures of the early twenty-first century generated unprecedented uncertainty for Irish business, especially in the Republic.

Keywords: Business, industry, banking, tariffs, investment

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