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Word Count: 870
The Effects of Shortage during World War 2 on Irish Retailers When war first came to Europe in September 1939 Taoiseach Eamon de Valera reshuffled his cabinet A new department the Department of Supplies was established under Sean Lemass It was given the task on ensuring that Ireland would continue to have sufficient supplies of raw materials food and fuel throughout the war John A Murphy states that Keeping things going rather than making progress became the economic keynote of the war years And kept things going they did but not without hardship suffered particularly by Irish retailers Before the war the Department of Industry and Commerce outlined in a memorandum to the Taoiseach the effect of a European war on Irelands economy The document pointed out that the United Kingdom provided 50 of the countrys imports and the market for no less than 90 of Eires exports A high proportion of the imports consisted of essential supplies which Ireland could not supply itself Only 5 of the shipping tonnage entering Irish ports in 1938 was Irish owned the British owned 64 Robert Fisk called this a crippling economic dependence for a neutral to owe any nation involved in hostilities There was a large increase in the amount of tonnage being sunk as a direct result of the defeat of France by Germany in June 1940 This rapidly manifested itself in shortages from which Ireland its neutrality notwithstanding was not immune Suddenly the shortages began to bite Rationing facts and figures paragraph needed here The rationing and shortages caused a deluge of problems for retailers and there were much reduced profit margins on a number of essential itemsreduced profit figures Inspectors from the Department of Supplies were given draconian powers to deal with retailers who broke the rules Patrick J OConnell a grocer from Kimmage was severely punished when he charged 4d for a pound of flakemeal used to
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