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Limerick Hosts All-Ireland Industrial Conference |

Limerick Hosts All-Ireland Industrial Conference

Limerick, Wednesday – The bustling city of Limerick played host to the All-Ireland Industrial Conference today at the esteemed Technical Institute. Delegates from various corners of Ireland convened for the second occasion, welcomed by the Mayor, Alderman Philip O’Donovan. The gathering aimed to address crucial aspects of Irish trade and commerce, with a diverse array of topics on the agenda.

In his opening address, Mayor O’Donovan highlighted the significance of such conferences in influencing the trajectory of Irish industry. The distinguished delegate, Mr Chas. Dawson, a fellow townsman, was welcomed to present a paper on afforestation, underlining the broad scope of discussions. Conferences of this nature, Mayor O’Donovan emphasized, held the potential to positively impact Ireland’s economic landscape, even before the prospect of self-government.

The proceedings were officially inaugurated by Sir Alexander Shaw, D.L., followed by an important address from Most Rev. Dr O’Dwyer, the Bishop of Limerick. Dr O’Dwyer’s speech delved into the current industrial deadlock in Dublin, expressing concerns about the potential consequence of emigration if suitable domestic employment opportunities were not provided.

In a somewhat contrarian viewpoint, Dr O’Dwyer suggested a cautious approach to immediate industrial prospects. He contended that agriculture would continue to be the primary occupation in Ireland, asserting that its sustained development would ultimately pave the way for prosperity in industrial sectors. He lauded the influence of science in agriculture and expressed optimism that Irish farmers, equipped with secure land tenure, would harness scientific methods for land development, thereby contributing significantly to the nation’s wealth.

Turning attention to education, Dr O’Dwyer advocated for the enhancement of the country’s educational system. He proposed the establishment of continuation schools, extending the education of children from 14 to 16 or 17 years. The Bishop believed that nurturing intelligence and fostering quick wits would empower the youth to seize opportunities for personal advancement, ultimately contributing to the growth of Irish industry.

Dr O’Dwyer acknowledged the existing system of primary education in Ireland but lamented the premature departure of children from schools at the age of 14. He urged the need for continuation schools, asserting that if children were brought up to the standard of technical classes and continued their studies, Ireland could produce inventive minds capable of initiating industries and self-advancement.

The Bishop expressed scepticism towards sentimental movements that aim to start industries without a clear understanding of their viability. Instead, he encouraged support for existing industries, asserting it as a patriotic duty for every Irish individual. Dr O’Dwyer acknowledged the challenges faced by Irish industries due to intense global competition, particularly emphasizing the importance of unity between employers and workers for success.

In a departure from the local focus, Dr O’Dwyer criticized the ongoing labour strife in Dublin, labelling it as a “wretched business.” He decried the destruction of industry, waste of money, and ruin of business resulting from the ongoing conflicts. Dr O’Dwyer called for a civilized approach to resolving labour disputes, advocating for arbitration as a means to settle differences.

As the All-Ireland Industrial Conference unfolds in Limerick, the delegates grapple with diverse perspectives on the future of Irish industry. The city, intimately connected with its industrial roots, serves as a fitting backdrop for discussions that could shape the economic landscape of the entire nation.

Evening Herald (Dublin) – Wednesday 22 October 1913

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