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Thousands to be employed in new Ford plant in Cork
Ford Model Ts coming off the production line at the company's facility in Highland Park Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Thousands to be employed in new Ford plant in Cork

Cork, 26 March 1917 - More than 2,000 people will be employed in the new Ford tractor plant in Cork. The workers will be paid a minimum rate of 1 shilling per day.

There has been widespread Irish support for the new development, not least because it promises to give Ireland a ‘big share’ in what is still a ‘new industry’. The plant will initially specialise in the creation of motor tractors.

British motor manufacturers oppose the proposals. E. Manville, the president of the Association of British Motor and Allied Manufacturers, has called on the government to delay the building of the factory. Mr. Manville said that the building of such a factory by ‘any foreign concern’ was simply wrong and that if tractors were needed for the duration of the war they could be imported fully constructed.

Excerpt from the confidential Inspector General's report on the state of Ireland in March 1917. It mentions that Ford have begun to build their factory in Cork. Click image to view the full report. (Image: UK National Archives, CO 904 102)

Mr Manville also objects to the fact that the building of the factory will allow Ford to switch quickly to car manufacture after the war and this speed of transformation will give Ford an undue advantage.

Since 1903 the Ford factory in America has been hugely successful in producing motor cars. The fact that the founder of the factory, Henry Ford, has roots in the Cork area clearly influenced his choice of site.

Ford’s family emigrated to America from Bandon in Co. Cork, and his motor assembly business is now referred to as ‘one of the wonders of the world’.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.