The unexpected collapse of the Celtic Tiger raises serious questions about the ability of the dominant readings surveyed in the previous chapter to offer real analytical and explanatory insight into Ireland’s model of development. For example, Ireland’s most authoritative source of independent economic analysis, the ESRI, had been forecasting as late as May 2008 that Ireland’s GNP would grow by 1.6 per cent in 2008 and by 2.9 per cent in 2009 (Tansey, 2008a). By October 2008, it had decreased its forecasts to a growth of 1.3 per cent in 2008 and 0.7 per cent in 2009 (Slattery, 2008). Yet, in early 2009, this had been further slashed to an estimate of −3.1 per cent decline in 2008 and a forecast of −9.2 per cent in 2009 (Barrett et al., 2009: 32). With a widespread consensus among economists that the international recession was responsible for only around one-third of the Irish recession and that domestic causes were responsible for most of it, the ESRI cannot blame the international recession for its inability to identify the major weaknesses that have plunged Ireland so swiftly into what may be its greatest economic crisis since independence. By contrast, throughout the Celtic Tiger boom, critical readings of the Irish development model had been pointing to the severe structural weaknesses which by late 2008 were beginning to be taken more seriously by political and economic leaders and by the general public.
KeywordsPolitical Economy Critical Reading Dependency Theory Irish Society Dominant Meaning
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