March 17 Sources: Luck of the Irish

It is not luck. Ireland was a poor country. Ambitious young people left to escape double-digit unemployment and incomes 30% below the EU average. Then in the mid-1980s they cut spending, lowered taxes and reduced the size of government. Today incomes are 40% above Europe’s and people are flocking to Ireland for the abundant jobs.

Ireland is business friendly. The corporate tax rate is a flat 12.5%, the lowest in the developed world and much lower than ours in America. Of course, that is not the whole explanation. Ireland has many advantages as a member of the EU with a hard working, well educated English speaking population, but it had all those things before the economic reforms. We have so many examples of countries squandering their riches and advantages, it is good to find an example of a country doing most things right.

Other sources are below.


A Little-Known Map of Tax Policy Geography shapes responses to the alternative minimum tax.
A Majority Believe Financial Situation Will Be Better Next Year than This Year
Forestry in the Farm Bill
Latinos Online
Making Ethanol Policy Work
Public Tunes In to Walter Reed Story Little interest in Libby Verdict
Senate Rejects Iraq Withdrawal While House Continues on a Dangerous Course
Mainstream Media Goes Niche
Support for Obama Surges
Symposium: Panacea or Pipe Dream? Energy Policy and the Search for Alternatives
The Congressional Earmark Moratorium: Will It Last the Year?
The High Cost of Health Care
Time for a Check on Administration's Unchecked Power
Sowing the Wind: Reaping Electricity*


America’s Image in the World: Findings from the Pew Global Attitudes Project
Chirac Missed Chance to Revolutionize France
Collective Suicide is No Foreign Policy Gandhi advocated nonviolence against Hitler. Should we be following that example?
Globalization and Child Labor: The Cause Can Also be a Cure
Iran’s Saudi Counterweight
Iran-Saudi Arabian Embrace: A New Beginning?
Iraq: Tribal Structure, Social, and Political Activities

Podcasts: audio/video

Building an Open and Inclusive Regional Architecture for Asia
Climate Change Winners and Losers
News Roundup
The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond
The European Union at 50
The Niger Delta: Prospects for Elections and the Future Reform Agenda

Posted by Jack at March 17, 2007 11:30 AM
Comment #212491

You make it sound like Ireland instituted these policies and then turned around overnight solely because of them.

The single biggest reason Ireland turned around is that they had a large number of english speaking people who could quickly move into the technology sector. Without the internet, Ireland’s turnaround would never have happened even if they had the policies you list.

Sorry, at least a part of that is luck. They deserve a lot of credit for creating policies that have encouraged businesses to be there, but a lot of it was being in the right place at the right time.

The real question is, will these policies work in the future for the US? You can set the taxes businesses pay to zero, and they will still be able to operate far more cheaply in India or China. When a company moves all of its manufacturing to a foreign country, how long does it take for the rest of the company to eventually move along with it?

Instead of taking a conservative cookie cutter approach to our economy, we should be addressing the realities of the new economy.

Posted by: Max at March 17, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #212493

Ireland is hardly a conservative cookie cutter approach. It is a good market based effort.

I mentioned that Ireland was fortunate in its English speaking educated workforce.

These policies do work in the U.S. You can compare the growth rates among our states and more importantly changes that take place when policies change. Lowering corporate taxes is not the only policy and it would work differently depending on where you apply them.

Much also depends on how the government behaves. Some governments are anti-market. They may not be a big part of the economy, but they are dangerous.

So the formula varies, but all successful countries have a brew made up of rule of law, market mechanism, respect for property rights and reasonable regulation.

I am not interested in the cookie cutter. Rather we should experiment and do more of what works; less of what does not.

Posted by: Jack at March 17, 2007 1:12 PM
Comment #212495

Is it the Irish that are benefitting, or the massive numbers of immigrant workeres that have flooded Ireland to undercut Irish wages?

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations lure throngs of tourists to Ireland each year — visitors who want the perfect pint of Guinness, a hearty bowl of potato-and-leek soup and a jovial, jig-filled party.

All of that is certainly available. But travelers may be surprised to find a Chinese worker clearing their pint glasses, a Lithuanian serving their soup and a Nigerian taxi driver ferrying them home after a wild night.


Posted by: American Pundit at March 17, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #212496

Dang. That was ‘Happy St. Patty’s Day!’ in Chinese.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 17, 2007 1:19 PM
Comment #212499


Yes, if you have a growing economy it might draw in immigrant labor to fill the jobs. The Irish, like everyone else, have variations on three options.

They can rule, regulate and tax their economy into poverty. Immigrants do not come where there are no jobs.

They can regulate their borders to keep out virtually all foreigners. Keep things like they are and have a museum culture.

They can regulate their borders to produce the mix of immigration that they want.

The second options allow more choice, but the first one, keep yourself poor, does not make much sense.

Posted by: Jack at March 17, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #212503

AP, better watch that language. I got admonished for ##$@**@@!!! :-o

Posted by: gergle at March 17, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #212541

What a crock of shite! Truth be told, Ireland’s success is nothing more than a beautiful country to the eye lifting herself out of civil war, promotin’ its greendom to the world as a peaceful and green sight to behold, and lo and behold, you have yourself a booming economy without ne’er the help or luck of the little peevish ones lurking beneath the shamrocks.

If they want to keep their good fortune, they’ll keep them Amurikan Republicans out of their faire land, and protect it from debt and military imperialism as Republicans are lustful to create. After all, they learned their lesson the hard way, didn’t they, from the Irish REPUBLICAN Army, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2007 7:00 PM
Comment #212543


Do you guys believe every success is the result of random chance and that every bad thing is from Republican plots?

Yes, it was a beautiful, green place since the end of the last ice age and a prosperous “Celtic Tiger” since the middle of the 1980s.

I like to hike up a local mountain called old Rag. I pass under a bolder stuck in a narrow canyon. It has been there for millions of year, but I always figure it will come loose just as I walk under. It has not. I guess that is just lucky.

Posted by: Jack at March 17, 2007 7:11 PM
Comment #212544

You conviently left out some things. Healthcare in Ireland is an entitlement, free to any resident,citizen or not. They also invested heavily in education. Much more so than we. They also have strong trade unions and more evenly distributed wealth. Hardly Reaganland.

Posted by: BillS at March 17, 2007 7:27 PM
Comment #212545

I actually as a libertarian/democrat/utilitarian/ hodge-podge liberal actually like your argument on this fine Saint Patty’s day.

Great argument against extremist protectionism. It’s a rudementary argument but really the thorn of the left. Socialism and extremist socialist agendas actually and really do harm a nation’s economy. Balance is good—thanks for the articles—CHEERS! Neat stuff! My sentiments exactly—sort of, more or less.

Posted by: Gleep the chimp at March 17, 2007 7:56 PM
Comment #212547


I did not say it was Reaganland. I said that there are many flavors of the free market. My point is that smart policies that cut the size of government and made it more efficient helped change a country from a beautiful but poor place w/o much opportunity for its people to a prosperous place that offers opportunity to others.

Ireland now ranks high on the index of economic freedom. That is a good thing.

The countries of the world are trying to figure out ways to use the market to improve society. They have had to restructure to sweep away old fashioned industrial era regulations and structures. That is what Ireland, New Zealand, US, UK and others did in the 1980s. THere are many variations, but the market mechanism is what works.

Posted by: Jack at March 17, 2007 8:12 PM
Comment #212550

I did some looking into Irish labor relations. Most labor relations there are a product of collective bargainning agreements with the government providing a floor like min. wage holidays,max hours etc. Less gov, interference directly but more protections for workers unions. Striker replacement is illegal. Impasse requires mandatory concilliation with a labor court to appeal. Employers must provide employee reps facilities and time to perform their duties.All together looks like a much less adversary enviornment. Perhaps another part of the model we should look into. Altogether what they have done is by design with the government being the catalyst bringing stakeholders to the table.Labor,farmers groups,social advocates,industrial employers etc.Together they put a plan into place that seems to have worked.
The lefty in me also needs to note that they fairly recently ejected the parasitic British ruleing class.

Posted by: BillS at March 17, 2007 8:52 PM
Comment #212565

BillS, that’s what comes of politicians who seek to unite and solve, as opposed to those in our country who seek to divide and hide their deeds. We had that once, about 20 years after our Civil War. Amazing what a little civil war can do to bring a nation to its senses.

Been almost 50 years since our last one, perhaps we are due again. It will be inevitable if our shysters in D.C. don’t get their sham rocks together, and effectively resolve our coming entitlement crises, and our education disabilities which, are crippling our competitive advantage.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2007 11:11 PM
Comment #212577

You’re pretty ignorant, Jack. Ireland receives BILLIONS of Euros from the EU each year. Under the heading of “Foriegn Aid”, Ireland depends on this to maintain its programs and subsidies.

What Jack is actually advocating is the proper use of massive government assistance to poor, developing countries. Bravo, Jack!!! We might make a Democrat out of you yet!!!

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at March 18, 2007 4:47 AM
Comment #212587

They Irish also pay into the EU. A very confuseing set-up they have but this ‘…aid subsidy” appears to be a bit like the amount of money a state gets back in services from the feds .


The CATO report ignores some important facts and gives all the credit to low taxes. We could easily cut taxes to that with intitlements and improve education also if we did not have to support a huge and profligate military-industrial complex.What do you think,Jack? Should we give it a try?

Posted by: BillS at March 18, 2007 11:14 AM
Comment #212596

Jack: Two major factors you have failed to considered: (1) a continuing huge foreign aid (19.8% of GDP) which supresses tax rates below that required to sustain the country’s services (for which American taxpayers pay no small amount), (2) a continuing mass emmigration (since 1845, nearly half the population has left or died— and those most likely to emmigrate are those with little or no skills), (3) a continuing decline in the number of chidren under the age of 16 (an average 6% decline each decade since 1930 — a trend in every industrialized national except for the US), and (4) the benefits provided via the UK & UE (especially GB, especially in the area of higher education and national defense(entirely paid for by GB)—education at all levels, elementary through graduate school is guaranteed, free).

The current economic conditions in Ireland are not the result of laissez fair economics as you contend; rather, the current economic conditions are the result of massive foreign “welfare.”

One should note that the unemployment rate in Ireland has averaged a little over 6% for the past 20 years and its unemployment benefits are the highest in the industrialized world.

Their minimum wage: $11.05 / per hour at today’s exchange rate.

BTW, Ireland’s poverty rate is 21% and healthcare is guaranteed to all with only the middle & upper classes paying for it in various proportions. However, the poor are provided guaranteed housing, food, and healthcare.

Jack, as much as I like you, you are way off on this one as some kind of example for laissez fair economics. Ireland’s “welfare state” is 4x the size of the US’s per capita.

Now, beyond the objective data. Anectdotally: I spent my 2005-2006 sabbatical year in Ireland as a Catholic missionary for the 4th time since 1971. There haave been great strides made in Ireland over those 35 years. The most obvious improvement is in the raising the floor of the “bottom,” for the poorest of the poor. None of them (the poorest of the poor) approaches the lowness of the poorest of the poor in the US. The biggest challenge for them (as well as for the Americn poor) is navigating the system to obtain assistance and services. Unfortunately, the necessary paper work is much greater in the US than in Ireland where governmental databases are interconnected and assistance is provided less grudgingly.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at March 18, 2007 1:35 PM
Comment #212601

Credit everything except what did the job. Good market practices.

Posted by: tomd at March 18, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #212621


Sure good market practices deserve credit as do good labor practices,good social policies like universal healthcare and education,a low tax structure made possible by subsidies and not having a large defense overhead.There are certainly other contributing factors to their success ,notably good governance and co-operation among devergent stakeholders. To look at only one factor is an error. Somewhat like a good beef stew. Sure you have to start with good beef but if the rest of the ingrediants aren’t there in the right proportions it taste like crap.

Posted by: BillS at March 18, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #212627

Jack: I really like these sources articles, wondering if you would mind if I began doing them from a third party perspective. I am asking you because this is your idea and I don’t want to steal it without your permission

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at March 18, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #212666

Ireland, when she joined in 1973 the EU market, got access to a huge market landscape, large subventions (up to 7% of its budget) from at this moment wealthiers EU members and, at the same time, the lowest average wage accross the EU.

No surprise things get better for them since. The same quite happened for Spain too, BTW.
That’s one of the best EU results so far, with the Euro.

Let’s see how Ireland will evolve in the near future, now that their average wage is rapidly increasing.

What could bring up a nation quicky don’t necessarily works also to keep it that way in the long term.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 19, 2007 9:10 AM
Comment #212668


I would be very pleased if others would post sources. Mine, however, are not strictly conservative. I do Brookings, Pew, Center for American Progress, which are left of center, plus CRS and Rand, which are completely non-partisan. It might be interesting to see where we overlap.

Phillipe et al

Ireland joined the EU in 1973, as you said. After about 15 years, it still have incomes 30% below the EU average. It made some changes in the middle 1980s. About 15 years after that, it was an example of what went right with incomes 40% above the average. All those thing you mention were important, but they were there before. What changed was the market oriented reforms. Let’s look at the one thing that changed and assess how it worked.

France, BTW, has a chance to reform its system too, and must. Chirac missed the opportunity. Good luck (and I mean the sincerely). I think you can guess who would be my candidate. It is not a woman or an ex paratrooper.

Posted by: Jack at March 19, 2007 9:41 AM
Comment #212671

Max, the internet had essentially nothing to do with Ireland’s turnaround. It’s a pretty long story, running from the 60’s thro’ to the late 80’s. A brief run thro’ - expanding industrialisation in the 60’s - deficit financing from 73 after the 73 war and oil price hikes - high unemployment - hairshirt policies - 77 new govt promises to prime pump economy by higher borrowing - this wall of money leaks out into luxury import spending - new election in 81 - series of weak and coalition govts - all promising goodies to their constituencies, paid for by high taxes - massive unemployment and emigration - hopelessness - until finally the two largest parties adopt a consensus -prudential policies. (87). That marked the turning point. Social spending was cut sharply and govt started to act responsibly. From the early 90’s, large EU investment in EU cohesion funds, reducing taxation, attraction of IT investment and pharma industries, reduction in personal and corporate taxes. Example - Capital Gains Tax cut by 50% from 40% to 20%- leading to an immediate massive hike in CGT revenues to state, Corp taxes reduced from 40% to 12.5% etc etc etc….

Whereas EU Transfers were important, the primary reasons for Ireland’s transformation were well educated people, industrial and taxation policies and national consensus to make sacrifices to turn economy around. Nationally, we had collective bargaining, bringing all the social partners together to agree how the pie would be shared. This brought about a remarkable turnaround to industrial peace, no strikes, modest wages increases combined with tax reductions, targeted health and social spending. The most essential aspects of the turnaround were a consensus was that you had to earn what you granted yourself. Neither high taxes not high borrowing were sustainable policies, so we had to come to accept that the timeless values of paying your way was the way to go, and massive foreign direct investment. Borrowing for capital investment; yes. For living high on the hog today; no.

Of course Ireland’s joining of the Euro currency in 2002 brought dramatically reduced interest rates, which has fueled dramatic property price inflation, which in turn has fueled a construction boom, drawing in more immigrants, for whom more accommodation is required, producing more jobs…etc.

Immigration into Ireland, now an attractive place to migrate to because of the range of work opportunities available, was driven by two other factors, mass emigration from underdeveloped regions, particularly Africa, under the guise of asylum seeking. Of course the vast majority of these immigrants were simply economic migrants who would not qualify as legal economic migrants, thus they attempt to sail under the flag of refugee. The second factor was the accession of many east european countries to the EU in 2004, and people left in vast numbers, heading westward, principally to the UK and Ireland where flexible and vibrant jobs markets offered seemingly unlimited opportunities. Ireland’s current unemployment rate is 4.1%.

“Is it the Irish that are benefitting, or the massive numbers of immigrant workeres that have flooded Ireland to undercut Irish wages?”
Posted by: American Pundit at March 17, 2007 01:16 PM

AP, there is no evidence to date that immigration is cutting Irish wages. The reality is that Irish wages has been on an upward spiral for years due to a tight labour market. Therefore there has been a lot of jobs price inflation, part of the reason so many immigrants are being sucked in.

It has to be said that over the last 4 -5 years, Ireland’s growth has been largely driven by the construction boom, accounting for 23% of the country’s GDP -

Sub Prime lending is a relatively recent arrival on these shores, and is only really starting to have an impact. However, over the last 6 -9 months the property boom has stalled, with prices starting to even row back. Of course the property vested interests unanimously acclaim that the not too cold, not too hot, soft landing is at hand. The truth is that housing is at the moment poised on a precipice, where it is very possible it could begin to slide dramatically. The Irish, as a historically rural people, have always had a visceral hunger for land and property, and we have invested in anything that moves property wise, throughout the world over recent years. Indeed, in some markets, we are the biggest investors. We are open to any well spun story of “Guaranteed growth” in fairy tale markets, some of the more recent being Bulgaria and Cape Verde. People are throwing money at these “opportunities” like snuff at a wake! Most do no due diligence on these hyped locations, and the day of reckoning can’t be far off, especially with the way property is going in the US and the demise of the sub prime lending business.

Ireland’s success over the last 20 years is typical of the old saying; ” Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan” The short fact of the matter is that principally we learned the hard way that you cannot live beyond your means and that no one owes you a living. We are beginning to forget that hard won lesson, and a generation has come up that has never known any form of material privation, who expect everything going and right now. In summary, our economic turnaround was based on realism, foreign direct investment, fiscal policy, Euro transfer funds, policy consensus across the economy, educational investment, infrastructural investment, and a very socially skilled english speaking and creative people. When you think of it, it’s not rocket science.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 19, 2007 10:00 AM
Comment #212673

Philippe, France is a sclerotic economy. Entrepreneurship is barely tolerated, and laden with heavy taxation. France has been somewhat schizophrenic in its attitude to its economy for many years. But the protectionist side just turns out on the streets whenever reform is mooted, and its back to same old same old. EU transfers to Ireland were important, but not the most important element of our economic turnaround. Ireland, as one of the wealthier EU economies, is now a net contributor to the EU, not a net beneficiary. Emigration of some of Frances brightest and most ambitious to both the UK and to Ireland, where they freely criticise their country’s fearful, redundant and unsuccessful socialist policies. They emigrate to London and Dublin because there are opportunities in these economies that are simply not available at home. The state sector in France is wrapped in cotton wool, at the expense of the young seeking to enter the labour market. What is Frances’ unemployment rate? 9%? It’s 4.1% in Ireland, which is functionally full employment.

For comment on France’s economy, go here;,1518,408418,00.html

It will be interesting to see the results of Frances upcoming Presidential election. Will it be the froth of Royal, the ambiguity of Bayrou, or the pragmatism of “Sarko”? And even if Sarko takes the title, will that prompt another run to the streets? The question facing France is the same one it has been facing for a long time. Will it embrace a changing world and adapt to it, or will it seek to maintain the status quo in the face of mounting evidence that that is impossible?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 19, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #212677

the benefits provided via the UK & UE (especially GB, especially in the area of higher education and national defense(entirely paid for by GB)—education at all levels, elementary through graduate school is guaranteed, free).

The current economic conditions in Ireland are not the result of laissez fair economics as you contend; rather, the current economic conditions are the result of massive foreign “welfare.”

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at March 18, 2007 01:35 PM

Dr Poskek, I don’t know where you’ve been getting your info from, but you need to suss out more reliable sources.

Briefly, Ireland, otherwise known as Eire, otherwise known as the Republic of Ireland, receives NO subsidy of any kind from the UK, or GB as you put it. I think you are confusing Northern Ireland (NI) with Ireland. NI is part of the UK, and is massively subsidised by the UK. Ireland has it’s own Armed forces, for which it pays itself, as you might expect. Admittedly, those armed forces are not large, but then we have no military threat anywhere near us, if at all, apart from what we had from IRA and IRA like threats, which have thankfully now receded to the fogs of history. The UK or GB pay nothing towards our third, or any other level educational institutions. That is paid for by Irish taxpayers. Ireland is now a net contributor to the European Union, however, even when we were net beneficiaries of EU funds, that was not the determining factor in our economic renaissance. It was only one of the factors.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 19, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #212681


I think you can guess who would be my candidate. It is not a woman or an ex paratrooper.

So it’s between Sarkozy and Bayrou. I’ve equal luck to guess right. Pun intended.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 19, 2007 11:39 AM
Comment #212685

Paul In Euroland,

Philippe, France is a sclerotic economy. Entrepreneurship is barely tolerated, and laden with heavy taxation. France has been somewhat schizophrenic in its attitude to its economy for many years.

I can’t disagree. And noway my first post was about France lame situation. I wasn’t comparing Ireland and France at all. I think the access to EU market was a major factor, as it was to Spain and other former-less-wealthy-EU-members.

Obviously, not the only one.

Ireland, as one of the wealthier EU economies, is now a net contributor to the EU, not a net beneficiary.

I think I said exactly the same. Maybe my “used to” was misleading. Sorry in such case.

The state sector in France is wrapped in cotton wool, at the expense of the young seeking to enter the labour market.

It’s not limited to state vs private sector. I feel from the inside it’s more a wealthy urban papy-boomers (a major part of french voters, thanks for NOT having that much babies to pay your retirment cost, guys!) vs the rest, including rural, young and emmigrate workers.

What is Frances’ unemployment rate? 9%? It’s 4.1% in Ireland, which is functionally full employment.

According to government, it’s 8.6%, but we now know in fact it’s more around 9.5%, thanks for playing magic with numbers for political (temporary) gain.
But it’s far worse in jobless people over 50. Nobody wants to hire them. In such category, unemployment is 56%! Is it only a problem of people lazyness in such case?
In Ireland, you don’t have such situation because your population is way younger and smaller, with much more space (french density is higher, hence our “little” housing current issue).

In fact, France was quite in the same situation than your country 30-40 years ago.
Now, most french are old and vote accordingly to protect their past, rather than their kids future.

It will be interesting to see the results of Frances upcoming Presidential election. Will it be the froth of Royal, the ambiguity of Bayrou, or the pragmatism of “Sarko”?

The pragmatism of Sarko will have killed french soldiers in Iraq. In last November he said France opposition to Iraq War was shamefull. Last month, he said France opposition was the most inspired move.

He’s not a pragmatist. He’s an opportunist. He wants power for power, whatever it get.
I don’t trust him at all. He wont get my vote.

I don’t yet knows who will get it for sure. Maybe Bayrou. He seems far more pragmatist than Sarko claim to be. Anyway, French are facing a major political crisis, whatever will happened.

The question facing France is the same one it has been facing for a long time. Will it embrace a changing world and adapt to it, or will it seek to maintain the status quo in the face of mounting evidence that that is impossible?

It will depends on youth vote. Conservatism is ruling France since at least 5 years. You called it socialist policies, but it stop in 2002, don’t forget. In fact, many socialists will even told you that it stop in 1981, when Mitterand didn’t apply the political program he was elected for!

We got since 2002 a full conservatist right in power. Didn’t change much.
French tried both socialists and republicans in the last decade. The unemployment rate didn’t move down.

We, and I include myself, are tired of all these incubants.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 19, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #212686

“Then in the mid-1980s they cut spending, lowered taxes and reduced the size of government.”

That’s b/c they went to a “Fair-Tax” tax system. It would be nice if America could switch to that tax system. Never going to happen, though…

Posted by: rahdigly at March 19, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #212688

Paul: I am using UE data which are the most comprehensive of sources. I’m sorry if the hard data doesn’t support your ideology. The fact remains that the “success” in Ireland is a result of foreign aid welfare.

Sorry, if I’ve burst your bubble.

In my experience, laissez fair proponents have a certain propensity to cherry picking data in their effort to promote their failed policies. You have exhibited such propensity.

In short, laissez fair economics do not work for a society as Irvine Kristol has ackowledged. Though, I presume you don’t want to here the truth from a movement conservative.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at March 19, 2007 12:31 PM
Comment #212706

We are economically better off than 20 years ago.
Our politicians however went for the rampant liberal free trade model of the USA.We have tribunals running for over 10 years into corruption.Our politicans would be quite at home in any of the “crooked Govts” anywhere in the world.Apathy, mistrust and downright loathing of our “Political Class” is widespread.Our infrastructure,our health service is third-world standard and our Hospitals are rife with MRSA(Superbugs).
Our “Dear Leader Bertie(Accepted Money , Gifts) is just as corrupt as his predecessor Charles(“Conman”) Haughey.Cost of living is among the highest in Europe and Urban Sprawl has ruined the quality of life in the suburbs of every town.Apart from that “Everything is Great”.By the way Tourists always get ripped off here and I am saying this as a resident in ROI.

Posted by: MikeW at March 19, 2007 2:02 PM
Comment #212747

Dr Poshek, I’m afraid you’re the one in the bubble. Can you provide a link showing where Ireland’s national defence and education at all levels are paid for by the UK? I know you can’t, because the very idea is absurd. Nor did I say that we did not benefit from EU financial transfers, because it is indisputable that we did. What i said was that it was not the only nor the decisive reason for our economic wirtschaftswunder.

I think you must not have really read my post. I am not a laissez faire proponent, nor is my country’s policy laissez faire. If you look again at my post you will see that I attributed a part of our successful transformation to collective bargaining and social consensus. My country invests heavily in social programs, most of which I am happy to support. There is a degree of social solidarity in Ireland, which is a common element of economic policy in European states, some more so than Ireland, some less. Of course I’m not saying its perfect or a nirvana, but we share in a European culture of social solidarity which seeks to provide a safety net for the weakest or most unfortunate. That’s hardly laissez faire.

As Phipippe says, Ireland generated much of its industrial growth through membership of the EEC, EC, and latterly EU, through a policy of foreign direct investment of multinationals, using Ireland as an English speaking base for exporting into the EU, combined with low manufacturing taxes initially, and later universally low corporate taxes. This FDI could only was only generated because there was an educated and skilled workforce available who could speak English and produce high value and high tech products for onward shipping to principally the EU, but also the mid east and asia, hence most of the resident multinationsals operate their EMEA functions here - Europe, Mid East and Asia.

So here’s the challenge Doc, produce the tiniest skimpiest evidence that Ireland’s national defence and educational at all levels are paid for by the British. And that our economic transformation is accounted for by money transfers from Brussels, or London for that matter. Alternatively, I’ll be very happy to accept your gentle apology.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 19, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #212753

Every country has MikeW’s who see only a half empty pot, instead of a half full one. I recall when Ireland’s brightest and best had to emigrate. The problems we have now are the problems of wealth and growth. As for corruption, I think this attitude is a hangover from our Catholic puritanism and our old provincialism. Does he imagine for one moment that we are unique in this? Does he imagine that Bush is a paragon of integrity and honesty with the Military Industrial Complex and Corporate welfare? How about Blair with the cash for honours? Or Chirac, who has had the whiff of corruption since he was mayor of Paris? Maybe Berlusconi in Italy, who throughout his tenure was trying to battle off investigations into large scale corruption? Or maybe Schroder, with his sweetheart deal with the Russians.

You know, it’s always been a trait of the Irish that we begrudge success. Mike bemoans our Health Service, like many of the supplicant class. I know that my dad, at 90 years of age, got an appointment for a triple bypass operation in four weeks, and had the best of care for all the time he spend in hospital. He was not a private patient. My brother, who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident last year, had the best of care and has only good things to say about his treatment. Admittedly there is a problem with MRSA, a problem we share with the UK. This however, is not a resource problem, it is a management problem. The fact is, we have invested hugely in our health system over the last ten years, to unfortunately limited effect. The investment has been swallowed up by administrators and vested interests in the health industry. Money has also been squandered because everyone demands a state of the art hospital in their county, instead of accepting centres of excellence within reach of wider areas. We are politically immature and blame everyone else for our problems, and too many of us expect others to solve our problems. The fact is, that now is the best time ever to live in Ireland, the country that Joyce accused of being the sow that ate her farrow. We have never had it so good, and yet the MikeW’s we will always have with us. As Wordsworth used to say, “The still, sad music of humanity” Or as I like to say myself, all part of life’s rich tapestry! Mother Ireland, you’re rearing them yet.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 19, 2007 6:19 PM
Comment #212882

Hey, “support the troops” dudes! How comes you never talk about this sorta thing?

Posted by: mental wimp at March 20, 2007 2:35 PM
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