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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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Referendums (Deirdre Flynn)


Deirdre Flynn


Over the course of the Celtic Tiger (1995–2008) Ireland held a baker’s dozen of referendums: 13 in total. However, while bail restrictions (16th amendment, November 28, 1996) and the International Criminal Court (23rd amendment, June 7, 2001) might be long forgotten, there are five (well technically 4) referendums that really stand out over the 13-year period. In fact, some were so good we had to run them twice.

The Celtic Tiger began with the contentious divorce referendum on November 24, 1995. Divorce was outlawed by the constitution, and a previous referendum in 1986 was rejected by 63.5% of the population. The 1995 referendum was definitely a marker of change in Irish society, as the country began the process of separating church and state, which has continued with the marriage equality referendum in 2015 and the abortion referendum of 2018. The latter was not easily passed, and the debate was highly divisive, with slogans like ‘Hello Divorce, bye bye Daddy’, and ‘Divorce Kills Love’ on the ‘No’ side. Weekly sermons from the pulpits told of the evils of divorce, and the church and special interest groups like Youth Defence campaigned for a ‘No’ vote. Old and New Ireland were separated by this issue, and there was a clear urban–rural divide in the ‘Yes’ result. The referendum passed by the slightest of margins – 9,114 votes – or 50.28% to 49.72%. If it had not been for the stronger support in the...

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