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Recalling the Celtic Tiger


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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Neoliberalism (Lorcan Sirr)


Lorcan Sirr


Neoliberalism is a political and economic philosophy which promotes the ‘market’ as the key driver of social and financial wellbeing. It was a key component, if not the ultimate driver, of the years of the Celtic Tiger. General principles of neoliberalism include:

1. privatisation of state assets;

2. deregulation of economic sectors;

3. openness to investment flows.

Many commentators argue that for almost 30 years, governments internationally have become increasingly seduced by an agenda that has sought to place ‘the market’ at the heart of economic life. At the core of neoliberal ideology is the belief that open, competitive, and unregulated markets, liberated from all forms of state interference, represent the optimal mechanism for economic development. Neoliberalism comprises a range of ideas and a theory of economic practices, which propose that the human well-being is best advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private-property rights, free markets and free trade. It is a somewhat unfortunate term because the word ‘liberal’ is often used to describe actions which are socially progressive.

During the Celtic Tiger, Ireland developed its own particular version of neoliberalism, as outlined by Kitchin et al. Irish neoliberalism is a mixture of American ideology comprising minimal state intervention; the privatisation of state services; public–private partnerships; developer/speculator-led planning; low corporate (and individual) taxation; limited regulation; and clientelism, with European social welfarism and its...

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