This book explores the factors which have shaped the Irish welfare state, through a case study of social security development between 1939 and 1952. At the heart of contemporary debates about the influences shaping welfare state outcomes lie the concepts of industrialisation, modernisation, religion, and patterns of state-formation. The Irish case provides a unique insight into these debates. Ireland is a European welfare state, but one in which colonial legacies are paramount. It is a modern, but late-industrialising nation, and for much of the modern period, Catholicism has been unusually influential. The book looks at how these idiosyncratic Irish experiences shaped a distinctive welfare state, and considers what this tells us about contemporary theoretical perspectives on social policy. This account of the behind the scenes battles over social security, tells us a great deal about how the welfare state in Ireland took the shape it did, and in the process, raises questions about well-established accounts of the role of the Church, political parties, and interest groups in shaping distributive outcomes which would persist for many decades.