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Ireland’s Debt Crisis: Roots and Reactions


Introduction: a pattern of dependency

The collapse of the Irish economy has come as a particular shock to many people, at home and abroad, because of its seemingly remarkable success in the preceding years, the period of very rapid economic growth that saw the country, from the early 1990s onwards, described as the ‘Celtic Tiger’. However, that era in fact consisted of two distinct phases. In the first phase, before 2001, growth was largely based on the attraction of (mainly US) multinationals taking advantage of Ireland’s low corporate profits tax rate (12.5%) and using the country as a base from which to export to the EU and/or artificially inflate their profit levels in Ireland through ‘