The 'fireside chat' that dominated the media coverage of the high-tech conference offers certain indelible insights into the version of Irish society that has been forged out of the experience of crisis and austerity. The imposition of the austerity agenda has necessarily posed serious ideological difficulties for the Irish state. While the austerity agenda is invariably depicted as serving the interests of all, in reality it has served the interests of only a few. The measures introduced by the Irish government have ensured that the neoliberal crisis would have neoliberal solutions. In their important critique of the Celtic Tiger period, Peadar Kirby notes that the ideas that have dominated public life in Ireland since the 1960s have chimed with the tenets of 'modernisation theory'.
Once held up as a 'poster child' for untrammeled capitalist globalisation, the Irish Republic has more recently come to represent a cautionary tale for those tempted to tread the same neoliberal path. The crash in the world economy had especially grave repercussions for Ireland, and a series of austerity measures has seen the country endure the most substantial 'adjustment' ever experienced in a developed society during peacetime. This book delineates the reactionary course that Ireland has followed since the ignominious demise of the Celtic Tiger. It argues that the forces of neoliberalism have employed the economic crisis they caused to advance policies that are in their own narrow interests, and that the host of regressive measures imposed since the onset of global recession has fundamentally restructured Irish society. The book discusses the mechanisms by which finance in Ireland sustains and reproduces itself, in particular how it was able to protect itself during the 2008 crisis. Property was at the centre of the second phase of the Celtic Tiger boom after US investment in manufacturing began to decline, leading to the Irish economic crash. The years since the onset of the recession in Ireland in 2008 have been characterised not by passivity and quietism but by extreme violence. In December 2009 as part of the first wave of austerity, the Community Development Project was informed that the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs proposed not to continue funding the project beyond the end of 2009.