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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 Bust (Maura Adshead)

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Maura Adshead

Fianna Fáil and Social Partnership: The Bust

The vicissitudes of Irish Social Partnership, and its eventual demise are well documented. For some critics, removing key economic negotiations and decisions into the system of Social Partnership shifted economic management into a technocratic arena and undermined parliamentary democracy by effectively presenting law-makers with faits accomplis. TDs and Senators had little influence over the deals that were struck and if they tried to rescind some part of the arrangements, they ran the risk of unravelling the whole.

By the time of the negotiations for the sixth programme, Sustaining Progress (2003–5), there was a sense that the process ‘had evolved to the point of over-reaching itself in terms of detail and structure’. Social partnership was now charged with ‘creating a governance mire’. There was a long delay in starting formal talks on the negotiation of a successor pact to Sustaining Progress and when talks began, they proved difficult and protracted. Irish Trades Unions were increasingly concerned that the opening of the Irish labour market after EU enlargement was facilitating both the exploitation of migrant workers and an undermining of existing employment rights and standards. Their concerns were epitomised by the high-profile Irish Ferries dispute in 2006, when ICTU refused to join partnership negotiations until the dispute had been satisfactorily resolved. These circumstances, combined with Ireland’s above euro zone inflation, economic slow-down and a severe deterioration in public finances created the most difficult conditions for...

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