Early emigrants to US were big savers

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EARLY IRISH emigrants to the US put extraordinary portions of their incomes into savings banks, according to a leading Irish historian.

The phenomenon was born out of insecurity, Prof Joe Lee told a conference on the history of Irish foreign affairs at University College Cork.

Records from the Emigrant Savings Bank in New York, an Irish institution founded in the 1850s, provide an insight into the saving habits of the Irish diaspora, with valuable details such as dates of arrival and townlands of origin, Prof Lee said.

A former head of the history department at UCC, Prof Lee is director of the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.

At Saturday’s conference, he traced the US intervention in the Northern Ireland peace process back to highly mobilised and politically skilled immigrant communities in the US in the 19th century....

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