• Douglas KanterEmail author
  • Patrick Walsh
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)


This introductory chapter reviews the historiography of Irish taxation, summarises the chapters in the anthology, and identifies directions for future research. It emphasises the centrality of taxation to Irish politics since the seventeenth century, when Ireland began to make the transition from a ‘demesne state’—featuring low levels of taxation, decentralised decision making, and privatised methods of revenue collection—to a modern ‘tax state’—characterised by high levels of extraction, centralised policymaking, the bureaucratisation of revenue collection, and the employment of sophisticated financial instruments to facilitate deficit spending. From that time to the present, fiscal policy has shaped the Irish state, informed Irish national identity, and influenced Irish economic activity, electoral preferences, and conceptions of civic morality. Taxation has also served as a node, bringing Irish subjects/citizens into persistent contact with the state and colouring the relationship between taxpayers and their government (whether based in Dublin, London, or Belfast). As such, it has invited conflict as well as compliance.


Tax state Bureaucracy Protest National identity Fiscal policy Ireland 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Trinity College DublinDublinIreland

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