Louise Fuller
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Identity and political fragmentation in independent Ireland, 1923–83
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The centrality of Catholicism to Irish identity in the post-independence era has to be understood against the background of nineteenth and early twentieth century Irish history. Fragmentation along rural conservative-urban liberal lines was set to become an enduring feature of Irish life henceforth, as evidenced in the results of two further referenda on divorce in 1995 and abortion in 2002. By the 1960s, many social, economic and political developments would cause cracks to appear in the too cosy coalescence between Irishness and Catholicism. In the post-war era Ireland lagged behind Britain, America and mainland Europe in terms of social and economic development. The commemoration in 1929 of Catholic emancipation and the triumphant celebrations at the time of the Eucharistic Congress in 1932 publicly underlined Ireland's Catholic identity.

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