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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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SSIA (Constantin Gurdgiev)

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Constantin Gurdgiev

SSIA

The Celtic Tiger’s SSIAs were the financial cure to the disease that made that particular malady incurable. The SSIAs, or the Special Savings Incentive Accounts, were created in the Finance Act 2001, with the explicit purpose of controlling rampant increases in money supply and the resulting inflationary pressures in the economy. In 2000, end-of-the-year consumer price inflation in Ireland rose to 4.806%, up on 1.08% recorded a year before. This rate of inflation was threatening the Irish position vis-à-vis the Euro area targets on the eve of the euro adoption (see Single Currency section), and required a drastic counter-measure to be taken by the government. Thus, under the SSIA scheme, termed savings accounts could be opened in Irish banks between May 1, 2001 and April 30, 2002 that provided a 25% state savings ‘bonus’ for every euro deposited by the savers. The maximum contribution per person was set at €254 per month.

With all SSIAs maturing in May 2006–May 2007, €14 billion worth of fresh savings funds became liquid at the very peak of the housing market bubble. Unsurprisingly, 2006–7 were marked by a re-acceleration in house price inflation, and in general consumer price inflation. The SSIAs maturity also helped Fianna Fáil to retain a majority in the Dáil, following the general election of 2007, allowing it to form a new coalition government with the Green Party and the electorally bruised Progressive Democrats.

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