© 2007

Quality of Life in Ireland

Social Impact of Economic Boom

  • Tony Fahey
  • Helen Russell
  • Christopher T. Whelan


  • Presents and assesses the latest findings on the social impact of economic changes in Ireland since the early 1990's

  • Shows that the Celtic Tiger has brought important social gains and economic growth

  • Ireland: now living in “Best of Times”, or has increased prosperity come at (too) high cost?


Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 32)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Tony Fahey, Helen Russell, Christopher T. Whelan
    Pages 1-10
  3. Brain Nolan, Bertrand Maître
    Pages 27-41
  4. Philip J. O’Connell, Helen Russell
    Pages 43-66
  5. Christopher T. Whelan, Richard Layte
    Pages 67-85
  6. Christopher T. Whelan, Brain Nolan, Bertrand Maître
    Pages 87-103
  7. Richard Layte, Anne Nolan, Brian Nolan
    Pages 105-122
  8. Tony Fahey, David Duffy
    Pages 123-138
  9. Emer Smyth, Selina McCoy, Merike Darmody, Allison Dunne
    Pages 139-154
  10. Tony Fahey, Richard Layte
    Pages 155-174
  11. Mary P. Corcoran, Jane Gray, Michel Peillon
    Pages 175-197
  12. Frances McGinnity, Helen Russell, Emer Smyth
    Pages 199-215
  13. Gerard Hughes, Frances McGinnity, Philip O’Connell, Emma Quinn
    Pages 217-244
  14. Ian O’Donnell
    Pages 245-264
  15. Robert Erikson
    Pages 265-276
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 277-314

About this book


The Irish economic boom has caused the economy in Ireland to roar ahead, but what has it done to Irish society? Some see the rising tide as having lifted all boats, while others argue that the benefits have accrued mostly to those who were already well placed. Some highlight how economic growth has raised living standards, while others say that it has imposed strains on family life, eroded values and communities, and created problems in accessing adequate housing, health care and other services.

So, are we in Ireland now living in ‘the best of times’, or has increased prosperity come at (too high) a cost? And can the rest of the world draw any lessons from what has happened in Ireland? The purpose of this book, which contains a collection of chapters written by some of Ireland’s leading social researchers, is to bring to bear the latest research and empirical evidence to answer these questions. It is aimed at a general audience and seeks to contribute to public debate in Ireland and abroad, while at the same time striving for rigorous, evidence-based argument.

The overall judgment offered by the book is positive, though with qualifications. Ireland still has problems: social inequalities are slow to narrow; the indignities of poverty and hopelessness, though less widespread than before, are still too common; some public services are poor; and traffic congestion frays the nerves. But there is a long list of social fundamentals that are stronger today than before the economic boom arrived.

National moral is among the highest in Europe, most people’s economic circumstances have greatly improved, jobs are astonishingly abundant, people are now flocking into the country rather than out of it, and they are marrying and having children at a higher rate than fifteen years ago.

These are only some of the positives identified in the book. Together they suggest that even on social grounds the Irish economic boom deserves at least two cheers, even if it has far from succeeded in solving all social ills.


Celtic Economic Boom Ireland economy gender income inequality migration quality of life social indicators

Editors and affiliations

  • Tony Fahey
    • 1
  • Helen Russell
    • 2
  • Christopher T. Whelan
    • 2
  1. 1.University CollegeDublinIreland
  2. 2.Economic and Social Research InstituteDublinIreland

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Quality of Life in Ireland
  • Book Subtitle Social Impact of Economic Boom
  • Editors Tony Fahey
    Helen Russell
    Christopher T. Whelan
  • Series Title Social Indicators Research Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4020-6980-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-7782-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4020-6981-9
  • Series ISSN 1387-6570
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 316
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Additional Information Originally published with the title: Best of Times? The Social Impact of the Celtic Tiger by Institute of Public Adminstration (IPA), Dublin, Ireland, 2007
  • Topics Social Sciences, general
    Quality of Life Research
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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