State officials greeted advent of IMF with deep suspicion, records show
The establishment of the International Monetary Fund in 1945 was greeted with suspicion by the Department of Finance, which thought Ireland “had nothing particularly to gain” by adopting the agreement setting it up.
The department’s view is contained in volume eight of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy 1945-1948 published this week, on the second anniversary of the EU-IMF bailout.
A memorandum from secretary general of the department James J McElligott in September 1945 pointed out Ireland would be affected by the prospect of new international currency arrangements.
“We had nothing to gain from the adoption of the Bretton Woods recommendations to set up an International Monetary Fund and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development,” said the memo.
It added that “if the proposed arrangements were good for sterling they would be good for us” but said the British government had not declared on the matter.
The documents are among almost 500 in the volume which charts how Ireland attempted to rebuild relations with the victorious powers after the second World War.
In February 1946, the government decided to allocate £1.5 million for supplies for the relief of distress in Europe. As part of that programme, it was decided to send 4,000 cattle to Germany. Over 75,000lb of raw wool was also sent there.