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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/343

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IRELAND does not seem to have ever enjoyed so great a degree of favor and prosperity as other parts of Great Britain, notwithstanding the continuous efforts which, for centuries, have been spent in its behalf. This may be due to some extent to its isolated position and the presence of the Irish Channel which unfortunately separates it from England and Scotland. Money and lives have been freely given to secure political union and better conditions, and enormous energy has been expended to improve the social and commercial standing of Ireland and its inhabitants.

In the light of modern industrial development, the question may reasonably be asked: "Are there not other and more modern and rational ways of bettering Ireland, which, for centuries, has given and is still giving to the world many of its greatest leaders?" Viewing the problem of social and commercial betterment from the standpoint of the constructor or industrial engineer, it would seem that the policies which have been so generally successful in building up and uniting parts of other countries, should also meet with success here. Since the days of the Roman Republic, the building of roads and the linking together of separated states and provinces has proved to be most efficacious, and almost essential to commercial greatness. Realizing the need of road development, the Romans introduced their great policy of highway extension as their best and surest means of developing and uniting their great dominion. It is almost needless to say that the same policy of building roads and other channels for commerce has, for a century or more, been the most successful of all the means adopted for opening up new territory in America, Africa, Australia, China and other countries. The great railway systems of Canada and the United States, the canals at Suez and Panama and the systems of roads and inland canals in Great Britain itself, are evidences of profitable commercial extension due to the opening up of highways of transportation.

Considering the problem from the viewpoint of the engineer and builder, rather than from that of the politician or statesman, it would seem that a positive railway connection between Ireland and England should be of great advantage. The western island, with its population of five million people, still remains separated from England by a sea