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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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Media and the Celtic Tiger: The Watchdog that Didn’t Bark (Kate Shanahan)

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Kate Shanahan

Media and the Celtic Tiger: The Watchdog that Didn’t Bark

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, writer and commentator David McWilliams proclaimed that the best economist, ‘understands love and emotion, all the things that drive us … feelings not figures drive the world’. Back in the heady days of the Celtic Tiger, McWilliams sounded some of the few cautionary notes on the boom. This was not a peculiarly Irish phenomenon. Writing in the Telegraph about that era, Edmund Conway (now Economics Editor at Sky news) admitted to a similar failure in the UK: ‘It was the media’s duty to make more noise, to scream rather than mutter our worries about the instabilities of the economy’.

Many factors have been cited about the failures of business media in particular during the Celtic Tiger era, everything from the fact that financial journalism is beholden to the titans of finance for access and interviews, to the poor understanding by journalists who did not have specialist training of the instruments they were analysing, to the fear of litigation when dealing with powerful interests. Dependence on experts who had ‘skin in the game’ has also been cited as to why the alarms were not sounded earlier. Broad sweep reporting does not allow for context or indeed the kind of drilling down which might unearth worrying trends. And the trends were there. That’s if you wanted to see them. McWilliams’ ‘Jeremiah-like’ pronouncements did not make him popular among...

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