Political transition for over thirty years also contributed highly to the society’s lack of strongly supporting change. De Valera’s party Fianna Failparty, controlled the political circles for long time and then he lost in elections. Impromptu change of political leadership interfered with the government’s reform programmes and zeal to effectively carry out development agenda (Honohan, 346). According to Garvin, De Valera’s electoral defeats in the 1940s and 1950s deprived the country of “a government strong enough to drive through change and of its most effective modernizer in Lemass” (Garvin, 234).
Distraction caused by frequent change in political guards had implication on the development efforts. This is because different regimes brought about different policies and development programmes, this lead to inconsistency in adopting and pursuing a uniform economic policy and development strategies. Also change in political regimes denied the country an opportunity to change its public systems that were key to the development of Ireland.
The focus and strength of developmentalists who were lobbing for overhaul of the education and health system and replacement by new systems that were changing needs of the nation were regularly interrupted (Lee, 50). The frequent change in political regimes was as a result of growing resentment in the society especially among the more critical elements of Ireland’s middle class. Also it was triggered by raising unemployment among the youth unemployment that had led to an enormous emigration crisis of between late 1940’s and mid-1950’s. Irish people had run out of patience and they wanted change.
Unfortunately, each of the government regimes that were installed was no different from the former as far as development ideologies and change is concerned. Political and government system during this time had bureaucratized way of service delivery. Bureaucracy in the government and business world adversely affected the developments efforts as they slow down progress (Grada, 147). Also civil service attitudes of impartiality and political neutrality, which was inherited from British, became entrenched, and politicians were in no position to impose changes
Blocking of developmentalists efforts by the ‘blocking coalition’ had very grave effects on Ireland. The blocking coalition consisted mainly of the government officials, policy makers, the church and the small-scale farmers’ community. Education system which was not science and research oriented and restricted youths over 14 years to access education resulted to mass of unskilled youth and in turn great increase in unemployment (Grada, 145). Poor economic policies discouraged innovativeness and investments. Economic opportunities were scarce and people became impoverished.
There was massive emigration in the mid-1950 and this resulted to an emigration crisis in neighboring countries like Britain. Lack of economic expansion against growing population brought about hopelessness and resentments especially among the middle and lower income groups (Johnson, 56). At the macroeconomic level the Irish exchange rate and balance of trade grew adversely against the economy. Since Irish was a small economy that depended on agriculture, and they adopted an inward-looking economy, they became net importer and this destabilized their macroeconomic strength.
Protectionism in the economic circles created a small closed economy which created socially costly monopolies and distorted agricultural production. In the wake of world great depression of 1930’s, Ireland responded by adopting closed economy policies that failed to attract foreign investments and competitive markets (Johnson, 78). This led to costly monopolistic market and inefficiencies in agricultural production. Also, lack of economic development in the three decades gave rise to increased number of poor masses, as the country experienced low economic growth rates.