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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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Merkel, Angela (Martina Fitzgerald)

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Martina Fitzgerald

Merkel, Angela

Angela Merkel was named Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2015 for her leadership of Europe’s refugee and Greek debt crises. There were further accolades for the German Chancellor that same year, when she ranked in an international poll as the second most popular world leader, behind then US president, Barack Obama.

Merkel’s standing, however, proved more divisive in Ireland. A Red C poll suggested a significant proportion of Irish people (45%), had an unfavourable opinion of the German leader. The pollsters attributed ‘a sour taste in the nation’s mouth’ to the extensive spending cuts and tax increases imposed on Ireland under the ‘Troika’ bailout programme. For many Irish people, Merkel was an overzealous cheerleader for economic pain. Her stance on Ireland’s corporation tax regime most likely also lessened any positive public sentiment.

When the global economic crisis hit in 2008, Merkel was in her third year as German Chancellor. She opposed the idea of a joint European Union fund to rescue troubled banks. She was also a severe critic of Ireland’s ‘Bank Guarantee’ scheme. Her opposition mainly focused on the fact that the guarantee – introduced in September 2008 – covered deposits at Ireland’s six major retail banks:

‘The Irish way is not the right way,’ Merkel said, ‘protecting without coordination one’s own banks, without including other international institutions that paid taxes in Ireland for years, and thereby of course hurting competition, is in my...

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