Demography, State and Society

Demography, State and Society: Irish Migration to Britain, 1921-1971

Enda Delaney
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: 1
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Demography, State and Society
    Book Description:

    Between the foundation of the new Irish state in 1921–22 and the early 1970s approximately one-and-a-half million people left independent Ireland, the vast majority travelling to Britain. Demography, State and Society is the first comprehensive analysis of the twentieth-century Irish exodus to Britain. Meticulously researched, using an exhaustive range of previously unused source materials, this book provides a detailed examination of the many ways in which migration shaped twentieth-century Irish society. The book focuses on a number of vital themes, many of them rarely mentioned by previous studies: state policy in Ireland; official responses in Britain; gender dimensions; individual migrant experience; patterns of settlement in Britain; and the crucial phenomenon of return migration. A major study of Irish migration, this book also offers much that will be of interest to scholars, students and general readers in the wider fields of modern British and Irish history.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-765-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-xi)
    Enda Delaney
  6. Glossary of Irish terms
    (pp. xii-xii)
  7. List of abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The distinguished Irish statistician, R. C. Geary, once recounted a story that told of when an eighth-century Irish poet, Sedulius, arrived at a monastery on the continent. The abbot, Strabo, musing as to why Sedulius had left Ireland, asked ‘whether it was due to the unsettled state of the country or the Irish habit of going away’.¹ This ‘Irish habit of going away’ perceptively identified by Strabo is a central feature of modern Irish demographic history until the present day, and this is particularly the case for the period after the Great Irish Famine (1845–50). The sheer volume of...

  9. 1 Perspectives on Irish migration
    (pp. 7-35)

    The historical study of migration from Ireland is striking in that little or no heed is paid to the vast and burgeoning literature on possible theoretical frameworks which attempt to explain and understand this phenomenon in many analyses – both historical and contemporary – of Irish migration. Even though Irish migration would appear on first inspection to conform to general models of migration which view the movement of people as part of the natural process whereby labour is directed to those areas or regions that require large numbers of people to sustain economic growth, this is far from the complete story. Equally...

  10. 2 The interwar years, 1921–1939
    (pp. 36-111)

    The interwar years were marked by a fundamental change in the nature of international migration. The rate of overseas emigration from Europe to the Americas declined sharply throughout the 1920s, after an initial postwar boom.¹ Restrictions on both emigration and immigration were introduced by a number of states, most notably in the form of the imposition of national quotas on immigrants by the United States in 1921 and 1924, which favoured migrants from northwestern Europe.² In Hungary, the Soviet Union and Germany the freedom to emigrate was restricted in the 1920s.³ In Italy, notwithstanding a policy to promote emigration in...

  11. 3 Enter the state, 1940–1946
    (pp. 112-159)

    Total war inevitably resulted in the displacement of population such as refugees fleeing persecution or transported foreign workers who were compelled to become involved in the war effort as was the case in Nazi Germany.¹ But the Second World War also created opportunities for migrants to take advantage of the incessant demand for labour that is fuelled by the exigencies of total war. Conscription and increased levels of wartime production ensured that female, over-age and migrant workers were required to fill the gaps in the labour force left by those who joined the armed forces. During the First World War...

  12. 4 Postwar exodus, 1947–1957
    (pp. 160-225)

    Christina Pamment (b. 1929) from Croom, county Limerick, left Ireland in 1946 just after her seventeenth birthday. She travelled to near Egham in Surrey where she started work as a domestic in a local hospital after replying to a newspaper advertisement. On turning eighteen years of age, she was accepted for nurse training at a hospital in Shooter’s Hill, south-east London. A short time later, she met another Irish migrant who was employed as a labourer and they became engaged to be married. In 1948 she broke off this engagement to marry a much older English widower. Notwithstanding considerable opposition...

  13. 5 Migration and return, 1958–1971
    (pp. 226-288)

    Most European states experienced large-scale migration in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, be it as sending or receiving societies. Roughly ten million people migrated from southern Europe to the industrialised economies of western Europe between the 1945 and the early 1970s, much of this movement occurring in the period after 1960, with the exception of Italy where the migrant flow developed in the late 1940s.¹ Migration from Greece, Portugal and Spain to West Germany, the Netherlands, France and other countries reached its peak in the 1960s.² As was the case with Irish migration to Britain, virtually all this...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 289-298)

    Migration from rural to urban areas was a feature of the development of most western societies. However, Irish migration was distinctive in that most Irish migrants left their local area for British rather than Irish cities and towns. The body of literature that can be loosely categorised as migration theory provides a number of useful vantage points from which to assess migration from independent Ireland. Inevitably, no single model or framework explains fully the patterns of Irish migration, although there is much of value which may be derived from the range of approaches from a number of disciplines. Mass migration,...

  15. Appendix 1 Percentage change of population of each Irish county, 1911–36
    (pp. 299-300)
  16. Appendix 2 Irish inter-county migration up to 1926 and 1936
    (pp. 301-301)
  17. Appendix 3 Irish emigration, 1901–21 (from the 26 counties)
    (pp. 302-302)
  18. Appendix 4 Number of overseas migrants from the Irish Free State/Éire classified by destination, 1924–39
    (pp. 303-303)
  19. Appendix 5 Average annual rate of net migration per 1,000 from each Irish county and province, 1926–36
    (pp. 304-304)
  20. Appendix 6 Percentage change of Irish Protestant population by county, 1911–36
    (pp. 305-305)
  21. Appendix 7 Percentage change of population of each Irish county, 1936–46
    (pp. 306-306)
  22. Appendix 8 Irish inter-county migration up to 1946
    (pp. 307-307)
  23. Appendix 9 Persons in receipt of Irish travel documents by county of last residence: rates per 1,000 per annum, 1940–45
    (pp. 308-308)
  24. Appendix 10 Numbers of conditionally landed Irish workers registered with the police, 1942–45
    (pp. 309-309)
  25. Appendix 11 Percentage change of population of each Irish county, 1946–56
    (pp. 310-310)
  26. Appendix 12 Average annual rate of net migration per 1,000 from each Irish county and province, 1946–51 and 1951–56
    (pp. 311-311)
  27. Appendix 13 Percentage change of population of each Irish county, 1956–71
    (pp. 312-312)
  28. Appendix 14 Average annual rate of net migration per 1,000 from each Irish county and province, 1956–71
    (pp. 313-313)
  29. Appendix 15 Net Irish external migration rates per 1,000 population by county, 1961–71, by age in 1971 and sex
    (pp. 314-314)
  30. Bibliography
    (pp. 315-334)
  31. Index
    (pp. 335-345)