Úna Newell
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Land and reform
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In the west of Ireland, where congestion greatly intensified the strain on the land, farm size, land valuation and economic viability were critical matters. The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) county inspector for west Galway wrote, 'when a man gets his land he settles down and there is no one more conservative than an Irish small farmer'. In the west, the appetite for land was sharpened by the trebling of Irish agricultural prices in response to the dislocation of world trade during the First World War. The civil war fanned a recrudescence in acute agrarian agitation in the west. Agitation during the civil war varied from the usual unauthorised knocking down of walls and non-payment of rents, to cattle driving, forcible occupation of land, illegal ploughing, threats of violence and shootings. Under the terms of the 1923 Land Act, the James Cosgrave government took over all existing schemes of land purchase.

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The west must wait

County Galway and the Irish Free State 1922–32


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