Caitriona Clear
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Non-agricultural work
in Social change and everyday life in Ireland 1850–1922
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There was some development of non-agricultural employment in Ireland between 1851 and 1922, but this does not mean that there was work for everyone. Emigration masked the true extent of unemployment, millions of people moving from the country and sending home money. There was, however, an increase in the numbers of people employed in professional and white-collar work, in local government and civil service work, in commercial and distributive work, in transport and communications, and in some kinds of industrial work. The definition of work changed between 1850 and 1922. The hand-to-mouth subsistence work to which many people claimed attachment in 1851 gradually ceased to be considered real employment. Homeless peddlers, prostitutes, beggars and others of precarious income gradually disappear from the Census occupational tables only to turn up again in the vagrancy statistics.

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