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‘What has happened to the Celtic tiger?’ : Economic crisis, Ireland and Europe 2008 – 2011

Sobrina Edwards
University of Bath
Sobrina Edwards
University of Bath
Open Panel

Abstract

The Irish Celtic Tiger, once one of the economic success stories of European Integration has within recent years been dragged into the throws of crisis, fuelled by the impact of the euro-zone crisis on the Irish economy. The once roar of the tiger has been extinguished by this period of financial crisis characterised by rising unemployment, the rising cost of borrowing, increasing national debt, a declining international reputation and periods of severe economic recession and even economic depression resulting in the highly contentious EU-IMF led bail out in November 2010. In response to this context of financial vulnerability and uncertainty, a wider societal and political crisis has ensued with public protests, industrial action and political division and fierce hostility marking the socio-political space. In this paper, the political contestation that marks this period of extreme uncertainty and crisis for Ireland is re-explored, in order to investigate how the identities of the Irish state and Irish nation have been intertwined with discourses of European integration to (re)construct and/or contest narratives of Irish crisis. Following a discourse theoretical approach, this paper will present the preliminary results of an analysis of Irish public discourse during the year 2008 – 2011, in order to illustrate and highlight the different political identities involved in the ongoing battle for Irish identity and its relationship to and with Europe.