By 2000, Ireland had achieved a remarkable macroeconomic
performance producing 10% economic growth, a budget surplus, and a
very low debt to GDP ratio. Emigration had disappeared and there
was significant immigration from Eastern Europe. By November 2010,
economic growth was significantly negative, the budget deficit was
out of control and the debt to GDP ratio had risen to over 100%. In
an unprecedented development, Ireland was forced to apply for an
emergency bail-out package from the Troika (European Commission,
European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund). This
book examines how the Celtic Tiger, a high growth performing
economy, fell into a macroeconomic abyss. It is a story that shows
how the Irish economy moved from a property market crisis to a
banking crisis and fiscal crisis, and how these three crises
produced a fourth crisis, the massive financial crisis of 2010.
Against the backdrop of the newly created Eurozone, the book
demonstrates the way in which a housing boom was transformed into a
property market bubble through excessive credit creation.
Accompanying the property market bubble buoyant property related
taxes enabled a profligate government to over spend and under tax.
Few, both in Ireland or Europe, recognised the danger signals
because the prevailing economic ideology suggested that financial
markets could self-regulate. The book analyses the roles of banks,
builders, developers, regulators (the EU, the ECB, the Central Bank
of Ireland, and the Irish Financial Regulator), economists, the
media, and a property driven populace during the various unfolding
stages of the downfall of the Celtic Tiger. It pays particular
attention to the decisions to provide a highly controversial
comprehensive guarantee for the covered Irish banks and the events
that left the government with no alternative but to request a bail
out. It considers throughout two questions: who or what was
responsible for what happened and in what sense? Could actions have
been taken at various stages to prevent the final recourse to the
bail out? Finally, the book addresses the future of the Celtic
Tiger and discusses the impact of measures to help resolve the
current Euro debt crisis as well as the underlying lessons to be
learned from this traumatic period in Ireland's economic and
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