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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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Public Finances in the Celtic Tiger (Paschal Donohue)

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Paschal Donohue

Public Finances in the Celtic Tiger

Ireland experienced an economic boom during the Celtic Tiger decade from the mid-1990s. The employment rate rose from 54% in 1995 to 65.5% in 2004 – higher than the EU25 average of 63% that year. In the mid-2000s, the construction sector directly accounted for one in every eight persons employed, symptomatic of imbalances emerging in the economy.

The pick-up in economic conditions and, in particular, the convergence of Irish living standards to (and subsequently beyond) European norms from the second half of the 1990s, resulted in substantial migration inflows. From 1996 to 2009, average net inward migration averaged 37,000 people each year. Inward migration peaked in 2007, with inflows in net terms of 105,000 people. This was thanks, in part, to flows from those Member States that joined the EU in May 2004.

At their peak of just over €47 billion in mid-2007, taxation receipts had effectively doubled from the levels at the beginning of the decade. As turnover in the residential and commercial property sector increased abruptly during the mid-2000s, with both sectors ultimately moving from ‘boom’ into ‘bubble’ territory, transaction-based taxes (i.e. stamp duties on property transactions and capital taxes) rose. As a result, receipts from this category increased from 8% of total receipts at the beginning of the decade to 16% in 2007.

The flawed policy of using these highly cyclical, transaction-based taxes to finance both a narrowing...

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