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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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Divorce: ‘Till Debt Do Us Part’ (Finola Kennedy)

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Finola Kennedy

Divorce: ‘Till Debt Do Us Part’

To begin with, some good news about the Celtic Tiger: between 1994 and 2006, National Debt fell by €1 billion from €37 billion to €36 billion. Then between 2006 and 2009 national debt more than doubled, a feat previously matched by Garret FitzGerald’s government in the difficult 1980s. Since 2009, national debt has increased fourfold and now stands at in excess of €200 billion. The ratio of debt to GDP may fall as a result of economic growth but this does not alter the fact that interest on the debt represents over €3,000 in tax revenue per year for each worker.

When a couple decides to get married their debt focus is much more likely to be on mortgage debt than on national debt. In the Celtic Tiger years mortgages could be obtained with minimal deposits. One of the consequences was a surge in borrowing and a subsequent wave of repossessions following the crash. Household debt which was 51% of GDP in 2002 soared to 118% of GDP in 2009. It now (2019) stands at 74%. In absolute terms, total household debt is now close to €160 billion or in excess of €34,000 for every person living in Ireland.

Over the longer term marriage tends to move with economic growth. More people marry when times are good. It is interesting to observe that as debt levels rose so too did the age...

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