Search results

A socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath

This book examines the phenomenon of the rise and fall of the Irish Celtic Tiger from a cultural perspective. It looks at Ireland's regression from prosperity to austerity in terms of a society as opposed to just an economy. Using literary and cultural theory, it looks at how this period was influenced by, and in its turn influenced, areas such as religion, popular culture, politics, literature, photography, gastronomy, music, theatre, poetry and film. It seeks to provide some answers as to what exactly happened to Irish society in the past few decades of boom and bust. The socio-cultural rather than the purely economic lens it uses to critique the Celtic Tiger is useful because society and culture are inevitably influenced by what happens in the economic sphere. That said, all of the measures taken in the wake of the financial crash sought to find solutions to aid the ailing economy, and the social and cultural ramifications were shamefully neglected. The aim of this book therefore is to bring the ‘Real’ of the socio-cultural consequences of the Celtic Tiger out of the darkness and to initiate a debate that is, in some respects, equally important as the numerous economic analyses of recent times. The essays analyse how culture and society are mutually-informing discourses and how this synthesis may help us to more fully understand what happened in this period, and more importantly, why it happened.

Neoliberal crisis, neoliberal solutions

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.

An introduction to the book

1 Ireland under austerity: an introduction to the book Colin Coulter #tbscitwiwtat In the closing days of October 2013, Dublin hosted a major gathering at which technology corporations at various stages of development exhibited their wares and explored investment opportunities. Although only in its fourth year, the Web Summit had grown at a remarkable rate and was now capable of attracting ‘9834 attendees from 97 countries around the world’.1 The centrepiece of the two-day event was an informal roundtable discussion of which the undoubted star was the web

in Ireland under austerity

10 Lessons from the era of Social ­Partnership for the Irish labour movement Francisco Arqueros-Fernández Introduction A recent briefing paper by Oxfam warns that if Europe does not turn away from austerity measures an additional 15 to 25 million Europeans will be living in poverty by 2025. The paper compares current austerity measures to the structural adjustment policies imposed on Africa and Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s: ‘These policies were a failure’ and ‘have dismantled the mechanisms that reduce inequality and enable equitable growth’.1 Several

in Ireland under austerity

. As a result, the implementation of austerity has had a noticeably gendered effect, with poorer women bearing the brunt of the burden. The most recent data from the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions showed that income inequality grew between 2009 and 2010 before a slight (though not statistically significant) decrease in 2011. The deprivation rate increased considerably between 2007 and 2012 and, after an initial decrease, the at-risk-of-poverty rate began to climb from 2009 onwards. Non-governmental organisation (NGO) analysis of subsequent Budgets

in Ireland under austerity

state spending but, ironically, given the focus on the structural deficit this is deemed both necessary and manageable. Thus John Fitzgerald has claimed ‘the Irish debt burden will stabilise at a manageable level in 2013 and 2014’, though there would be considerable uncertainty in the future.19 An analysis which primarily targets state spending and, even after the crash, naturalises existing models of private ownership in banking has laid the foundations for an ardent embrace of austerity policies. MUP_CoulterNagle_Printer3.indd 72 24/04/2015 16:36 Interpretations

in Ireland under austerity
Abstract only
Austerity and the community sector in the Republic of Ireland

8 Defiance and hope: austerity and the community sector in the Republic of Ireland John Bissett This is Ireland Dermot Bolger’s poem, Neilstown Matadors1 tells the story of a mother whose daughter has succumbed to the risks of serious drug use and who is left to act as guardian and matriarch to her daughter’s daughter. The poem is rife with grief and is a succinct depiction of both the internal implosion of an extended family and the external degradation of ­addiction, poverty and inequality. The grandmother/mother describes a struggle that has tortured many

in Ireland under austerity
Suicide, violence and austerity

6 Ireland’s disappeared: suicide, violence and austerity Michael Cronin Introduction The billboard says it all. Or does it? In an advertising campaign mounted by an Irish newspaper over the slogan ‘We are defined by the choices we make’, there are two contrasting pictures. On the left-hand side, there is the photograph of a rioting crowd in Athens with a member of the Greek riot police prominent in the foreground. On the right, there is a photograph of O’Connell Street in Dublin, with the General Post Office and the Spire but, significantly, no people. The

in Ireland under austerity
Abstract only
The financialisation of Ireland and the roots of austerity

2 False economy: the financialisation of Ireland and the roots of austerity Conor McCabe Introduction Although the financial world has a powerful presence within Irish society, it is among the most opaque and little understood facets of the state. It provokes strong reaction, no doubt, and protests, column pages and character-driven accounts, but relatively little by way of structural investigation and analysis. There are moves, however, to redress that imbalance, and this chapter is put forward as a small contribution to that process. It will focus on the

in Ireland under austerity

Ireland, but never both at the same time’.11 This understanding has proven to be as politically enabling as it has been analytically restrictive. If, as Colin Coulter argues in the introduction, the political class reached for the ‘dangerous pronoun’ as austerity was implemented, the we in ‘we all partied’ was marked by the presumption that the party ‘guests’ would now go home. If the TED-talk template of multiculturalism framed people as perpetually frozen in happy clappy forms of mutual celebration, the Irish government suppressed the reality of social transformation

in Ireland under austerity