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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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Balanced Regional Development (Lorcan Sirr)

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Lorcan Sirr

Balanced Regional Development

The idea of not letting Dublin reap all the rewards of the Celtic Tiger was a significant driving force in the State’s drive to ‘rebalance’ Ireland, economically at least. Politically, this ‘rebalancing’ was a convenient rural vote-winner with many politicians creating an artificial ‘have’ versus ‘have not’ false dichotomy between urban and rural parts the country.

Not only is this central policy thrust of ‘balanced regional development’ difficult to achieve, as many countries have discovered, but there was little clarity about what the term meant. BRD does not mean the equal development of every region in the country, but can mean the simultaneous development of each region. Many politicians latched onto the first component of what it does not mean as their version of reality. This inaccurate interpretation persisted both during and after the Celtic Tiger years, with the imperative of diverting economic and physical development from Dublin an important political goal.

Prior to the Celtic Tiger, Ireland already had a history of trying to reduce regional disparities by supporting (employment and wealth-generating) economic activities in different regions. Regional development policy had tended to try to achieve these objectives by means of large-scale infrastructure development and by attracting inward investment, particularly industrial (e.g. ‘Advance’ factories developed by the Industrial Development Authority). Past policies failed to reduce regional disparities significantly and haven’t really helped individual lagging regions to catch up, despite the allocation of significant public funding, mostly...

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