Celtic Tiger – on its back

Until the global financial crisis struck, Ireland was heralded as a shining example of how to run a successful modern economy. But it has fallen harder than most during the recession and the banking system and the economy are in a mess. So what has gone wrong?

The Irish economy is once again in an horrendous state. Unemployment has surged from 4.6% in 2007 to 11.6% in 2009 and the vision of mass immigration haunts the Emerald Isle. While Ireland has been poor for much of its history this time it comes after a period at the top of the economic rankings. In 1988 “The Economist” referred to it as the “Poorest of the rich” European countries yet by 2006 it was the richest per head of any European country after Luxembourg (see table below).

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