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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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Single Currency (Constantin Gurdgiev)

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Constantin Gurdgiev

Single Currency

Ireland entered the euro in 1999, having previously participated in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) since March 13, 1979. On January 1, 1999, the Irish Punt (Punt Éireannach) was formally replaced by the euro for non-cash usage, and on January 1, 2002, Ireland switched to euro coins and banknotes as the country’s new official legal tender. The process of phasing out the Punt, and its replacement with the euro, was very fast and relatively painless. The Punt value was fixed at conversion at 0.787564 Irish pounds to the euro, and the introduction of the euro was associated with the loss of theoretical monetary autonomy by the Central Bank of Ireland. At the time of changeover, the main fear among the public and the majority of Irish analysts was that the new currency would lead to a steep increase in inflation rates. Average consumer price inflation in 1990–7 was running at 2.43% per annum, which reflected higher growth rates in the first stage of the Celtic Tiger.

In 1998–2001, average inflation was significantly higher at 3.28% per annum, and this rose to 4.23% (average annual rate) over 2002–3. There is no actual evidence to support the claims, occasionally made in the Irish media at the time, that the higher inflation rates immediately following the euro adoption could be attributed to the introduction of the single currency. End-of-year inflation rates for 2000–2 for Ireland were 4.81%, 4.31%...

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