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Where corruption is concerned, Ireland has a poor record. Year in year out, there’s a new story about a politician on the take but rarely is anyone punished. Our medieval ancestors had a very different attitude; they were far more proactive if brutal when it came to punishing corruption in Dublin. In 1310 the city’s bakers painfully discovered how medieval Dubliners dealt with corruption.
In medieval Ireland, bread was one the main source of sustenance for the majority of the population. A shortage in bread or high prices in grain which translated into high bread prices could result in riots. In Dublin the city authorities carefully controlled and monitored the production of the city’s bread. This was done through testing or assaying the flour content in the bread as corrupt bakers were tempted to dilute the amount of floor in their bread. This saw the city officials introduce a system of…
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