Small-scale farmers were also to blame for blocking development in Ireland in early 1990’s. According to Garvin, small farmers community, who were the majority in the rural areas, coupled with the Church to become a ‘blocking coalition’ (Honohan, 352). The farmers community formed the conservative wing of Irish nationalism which was increasingly opposed to ‘developmentalists’ wing. The farmers were strongly attached to traditional mindset and ways of doing things. They harbored cultural distrust to scientific discovery and innovation.
The church was oriented to traditional practices and attitudes towards modernization which was reinforced by their conservatist partner (government). With their rural, static and ethical outlook on life, as well as their social structures, they deliberately blocked the way to development by guaranteeing that the status quo remained (Brown, 114). The ‘protectionism’ by the small scale community held back any meaningful growth in agricultural sector, which was the backbone of the small economy.
This had a very great negative impact on growth in the agriculture sector and development of the economy at large (Grada, 143). By being an interest group that ensured that the status quo remains, and being hostile to change and development, this group in the social circle paradoxically opposed ‘developmentalists’ way to have the country on growth path even though they were the first beneficially to economic development.
The small farmers were also opposed to change in the education system from the ‘clerical’ oriented one to ‘scientific and research’ oriented one that would produce innovative labor force which is important in fostering development in the society. Small scale farmers leaned to maintaining the status quo as they perceived modernization or change as a threat to the current trends in agriculture where government focused on the internal economy and had little focus on world market.
Modernization called for new agricultural practices that the community felt that would interfere with their practices that they had dearly held to (Ibid, 145). Some of the radicalists, who were opposed to conservatism by the government and society, lacked clear and uniform development model. Those who were against De Valera’s attitude, like Lemass and McEntee, lacked an agreeable strategy to chart the way forward (Lee, 86). Most of the radicalist, both from the left and right wing, spoke different languages on how to go about bringing the desired economic growth and change in the society.
Lack of clear development proposals by the opposing camp, through fighting over which ideology best fit the country denied Ireland an opportunity to converge at reform and development path (Ibid, 91). Radicalist differed in which foreign exchange system, foreign investment policy, education policy or export system to adopt to spur growth in the land. Indecisiveness by the ‘developmentalists’ wing to find an agreeable solution that will be embraced by the majority delayed realization of economic development in Ireland.
Some of the radicalists were even reluctant to engage seriously with the modern world and bring about real change in the society (Redmond, 99). Most of them had feelings that Ireland was different from other western states and modernization in the other western countries could not fit well in the country. Some of the radicalists were actually reluctance to engage seriously with the modern world. This is because some of them had the feeling that Ireland was different from other western states and therefore modern trends were not fit for this society that was ‘ethical. ’