The death of the Celtic tiger is not an extinction event to trouble naturalists. There was, in fact nothing natural about this tiger, if it ever really existed. The “Irish Economic miracle” was built on good old-fashioned subsidies (from the European Union) and the simple fact that until the 1980s Ireland was by the standards of the developed world so economically backward that the only way was up. And as it began to catch up to European and American averages, the Irish economy could boast some seemingly remarkable statistics. These lured in investors, the Irish deregulated and all but abandoned financial oversight, and a great Irish financial ceilidh began. It would last for a decade. When the global financial crash of 2008 arrived it struck Ireland harder than anywhere – even Iceland looked like a model of rectitude compared to the fiasco that stretched from Cork to Dublin. There was an avalanche of statistics as toxic as the property-based assets that lay beneath many of them
And under all this rubble lay the corpse of the Celtic Tiger. How Ireland managed to achieve such a spectacular implosion is a stunning story of corruption, carelessness and venality, told with passion and fury by one of Ireland’s most respected journalists and commentators.