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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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Fianna Fáil (Eugene O’Brien)

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Eugene O’Brien

Fianna Fáil

‘When I have it, I spend it’, said former Fianna Fáil Finance Minister Charlie McCreevey in 2001, and the ‘boom times are getting even more boomier’, said former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2006. These two soundbites, as much as anything else, have come to symbolise the role of Fianna Fáil in taking the country from being a very underperforming economy, to becoming a mirror image of the Tiger economies of Southeast Asia. A further soundbite, from Ministers Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey, denying that there would be any International Monetary Fund bailout of Ireland on November 13, 2010: ‘We have not applied, there are no negotiations going on’. The bailout and ensuing austerity measures took place eight days later, on November 21.

The Celtic Tiger is indelibly associated with Fianna Fáil. Through very light-touch regulation, which meant that businesses were not restricted in terms of development or financially advantageous dealings; a protracted and structured regime of social partnership, which resulted in very few strikes or disputes from a compliant workforce; the financial services centre in Dublin, which became a hub for all sorts of financial deals, including the developing Internet sector; and a low corporate taxation regime, Ireland was an ideal nursery for economic development.

Most of these schemes had been created under the auspices of Fianna Fáil, who had been in power from 1987 to 1994 (firstly with the Progressive Democrats and...

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