Fianna Fáil, Masculinity and the Economics of National Salvation

  • Aidan Beatty
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


This chapter begins with a fairy tale. ‘Once upon a time, there lived in Ireland a man who grew wheat.’ At first, this man lived a harmonious and autarchic life, selling his crops to the other men of Ireland, who, in turn, ‘made boots and clothes for him.’ Unfortunately, though, this peaceful all-male economy was soon destroyed by the market forces of international capitalism. The land had become a dumping ground for cheaply made foreign goods and the men of Ireland ‘ceased to get a livelihood out of the trade, and they grew thin’, whilst international capitalists grew fat. Emigration increased, but this only exasperated the situation. Those who left found work overseas producing mountains of commodities, which were added to the cheap goods already flooding into Ireland, all to the benefit of the same foreign capitalists. Those men that had stayed in Ireland, because they lacked the money to leave, sank further into despair. Then, one day, there appeared a prophet in a top hat, a very thinly veiled W.T. Cosgrave, who promised to save the men of Ireland. Cosgrave, however, was not only a devious Free State politician, he was also a weak man. He was secretly in league with ‘the Knights of the Compass and Square and Ring’ (i.e., the Freemasons) and he grovelled before them. And they rejoiced at the terrible work he had done, opening up Ireland ever more to their rapacious capitalism. Meanwhile, the remaining men of Ireland, now languishing in a workhouse, were moving from despair to anger. They had begun to see the solution to their problems. If the men of Ireland could all be provided with their own means of production, they could make enough to provide for themselves and their families. As the wheat farmer observed, while looking at the rich farm land outside the workhouse, ‘I could have grown good food for ye all, and it’s not here I’d be to-night, with a shoemaker and his toes sticking out, and a tailor with no seat in his breeches, swilling watery German porridge and eating watery Russian bread.’ Indeed, like all fairy tales, this one also had a happy ending: ‘IRISHMEN! Let us end that story! Henceforth we will utilise the resources God gave us to provide a livelihood for our own people in our own land. VOTE FIANNA FÁIL.’2


Fairy Tale Land Annuity Jewish History Irish People Irish Economy 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aidan Beatty
    • 1
  1. 1.Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies & School of Canadian Irish StudiesConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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