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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Auditors (Neil Dunne)

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Neil Dunne

Auditors

Auditing has traditionally constituted a venerable, if prosaic, calling. For many years its practitioners enjoyed relative autonomy on the understanding that they would protect the public interest. However, the banking crisis prompted a wave of public ire towards the audit profession. Although auditors were not unacquainted with condemnation (for example, in the aftermath of accounting scandals such as Enron, WorldCom and others), this time their perceived failures coincided with the collapse and subsequent State rescue of six financial institutions (Allied Irish Banks, Anglo Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Educational Building Society, Irish Life and Permanent, and Irish Nationwide Building Society).

The spotlight of public scrutiny shone most severely on the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC). These firms dominate the audit market, and also perform various non-audit activities such as accounting, tax, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services. Specifically, EY, KPMG and PwC had granted unqualified audit reports in respect of the rescued banks in both 2007 and 2008. ‘Where were the auditors?’ thus became a common refrain in the public and media discourse.

The European Commission responded to concerns surrounding the audit profession by mandating new rules regarding auditor rotation, prohibition of certain non-audit services, and banning of ‘Big-Four only’ clauses in financing arrangements. However, auditing’s role in the Irish crisis was not publicly addressed until 2015, when the Big Four were summoned to the Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. There,...

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