Page 6, 11th November 1938

11th November 1938
Page 6
Page 6, 11th November 1938 — IRISH ECONOMIC TROUBLES

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Locations: Wellington, Dublin


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Emigration Causes

From DR. I. P. F. WATERS, Master» General of Irish Doctors' Guild of SS. Luke, Cosmos and Damian.

SIR,--I wish to correct a misstatement by your Irish Correspondent in your issue of November 4. The misstatement, which I consider a serious one, is manifestly due to a misunderstanding on your correspondent's part of economic theory and fact. This same misunderstanding has already appeared from time to time in his otherwise interesting and valuable notes.

Summarising Fr. Cahill's short address to the members of " An Rioghacht " in Jury's Hotel, Dublin, on October 26, your correspondent says that Fr. Cahill attributed the rural depopulation of Ireland to " a shortage of money in the countryside." As one who listened carefully to Fr. Cahill's address, I am able to state that your correspondent's account is, in that particular, inaccurate and gravely misleading.

What Fr. Cahill did say was that the root cause of the emigration, excessive urbanisation and abnormally low marriage rate in rural Ireland was " confessedly economic " and could be remedied only by a social and economic reconstruction along the lines of the principles which are enunciated or implied in the Papal Encyclicals.

"Rural Ireland," he said, " has superabundant natural resources. These are left undeveloped, and the people are forced to go or to live as bachelors and spinsters." He went on to say : " We know from experience and the express teaching of Pius XI that in modern times the financial and monetary system dominates economic

life, Credit,' says Pius XI, is the life blood of the entire economic body, so that those who control it grasp, so to speak, in their hand, the very soul of produc

tion.'" " Without a monetary reform," Fr. Cahill said " the needed economic reconstruction cannot be made. Our present monetary system in Ireland (like our marriage rate and emigration statistics) are quite unique in the world; and within that system no really adequate economic reconstruction is possible."

Fr. Cahill then referred to the minority reports of the recent Banking Commission, and especially that signed by P. J. O'Loughlen, T.D. (which he characterised as " a very remarkable document "). This report contained the outline of a monetary and economic reform on the principle of full employment and family security which could form the foundation of the needed social reconstruction.

It will, 1 trust, be evident to your readers that all this is very different from the statement attributed to Fr. Cahill that the root of the trouble in rural Ireland is " a shortage of money " to be supplied presumably by an increased dole and higher wage!

As for the statement that your Irish Correspondent makes on his own authority, that he does " not know a single case of emigration owing . . . to any material cause," it can only be said that he is apparently ignorant of the economic facts in rural Ireland, for it is notorious that all down the West there are parishes where there has been hardly a marriage for some six years, and that those young people, whom the economic obstacles to marriage have not already forced into emigration, are living at home unmarried and without adequate employment even for their single state, sometimes as many as five or six brothers and sisters over twenty.

Now in Portugal, before Salazar took office, economic conditions forced emigration at the rate of 31,000 a year. After Salazar's reform, firstly of the monetary system and secondly of the economic conditions, emigration from Portugal is reduced to some 6,000, although the natural increase in population is 100,000 per annum.

Does your Irish Correspondent forget the pronouncement of His Holiness Leo XIII: " No man would exchange his country for a foreign land if his own afforded him the means of living a decent happy life " (Reruin Novarum, par. 35)? • J. P. F. WATERS. 83, Wellington Road,


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