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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 and Social Partnership: The Boom (Maura Adshead)

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Maura Adshead

Fianna Fáil and Social Partnership: The Boom

Developed in response to the deep economic crisis experienced in the late 1980s, social partnership was feted as representing ‘a unique set of institutional innovations for creative, dynamic, and self-reflexive governance for social and economic development’, and credited with providing the economic stability that underpinned the Celtic Tiger. It was also, certainly, a political arrangement intimately associated with Fianna Fáil.

The story of An Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, calling together representatives from business and trades unions in an attempt to solve the economic crisis is recalled by participants on all sides. Though popularly portrayed as the genius stroke from a charismatic Taoiseach and his cunning Secretary General, Pádraig Ó hUiginn, in fact the journey to this ‘historic compromise’ was less direct and involved the interplay of a much broader range of interests, within the Fianna Fáil party, the government, and the economy.

During the 1987 election campaign, the idea of ‘creating an industrial consensus’ with the ‘Social Partners’ was promoted by Charles Haughey in the Fianna Fáil Programme for National Recovery. Though the exact balance of credit for the initiative is open to interpretation, certainly this was a development that would likely only occur within a Fianna Fáil government. Fine Gael were on record at the time as being against ‘capitulating to interest groups’, and the rift that had grown between the Labour party and the trades unions during...

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