The Irish Republic, once a realtively poor country, became one of the world's wealthiest countries in the 1990s with one of the highest GDPs per capita and standards of living. But a lot of it was because the Irish were living beyond their means and spending money they didn't have. Its citizens burdened themselves with debt, buy-to-let became fashionable and the banks competed to lend money.
The country adopting the euro - which its next door neighbour Britain wisely stayed out of (despite the europhiles and much of the Left laughably saying Britain would be left behind as a result) - also contributed to its economic collapse.
The Celtic Tiger, as Ireland was dubbed by financiers, roared out its prosperity. Between 1992 and 2008 the number of racehorses being trained in Ireland doubled to more than 12,000, while in no other country in the EU were so many helicopters and private aircraft bought. In fact, by 2008, the Irish had more helicopters and private aircraft per capita than any other nation.
It enjoyed Europe’s longest sustained growth from 1994 to 2007 amid unprecedented investment by foreign high-tech firms seeking a low-tax base in the EU. Gradually, though, it priced itself out of the market and investors went to other countries such as Poland. Computer company Dell left Limerick because it could pay its workers £3 an hour in Poland compared with £14 in Ireland.
As the money poured in during the boom years Ireland became a model for every small nation. The face of the country was changed for ever by a construction rush, with every SDHp community seemingly determined to get in on the act. Trendy apartment blocks sprang up, countless gleaming hotels threw open their doors and expensive new restaurants jostled for space in previously rundown neighbourhoods.
The boom collapsed amid the global credit crisis, which exposed Ireland’s reckless reliance on foreign lending and property speculation to fuel spending. Its banks took too many risks, financing builders who were unable to repay their loans.
The result is unfinished ghost towns of apartment blocks and idle cranes, while many of the new hotels are destined to become white elephants.
Adamstown, a sleek development in suburban Dublin, was begun while the economy was flourishing but building work has ground to a halt, many homes lie empty and a promised swimming pool is yet to materialise.
Adamstown in Dublin is now one of the Irish Republic's many unfinished ghost towns
The most devastating blow came when Ireland’s credit rating was downgraded. A top rating of AAA is vital, allowing nations to borrow money at lower interest rates. The announcement that it was losing its good credit status was accompanied by a warning that full recovery could take years.
Since 2010 British taxpayers have provided Ireland with a backdoor bail-out of more than £14bn via the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.
In fact, almost one pound in every four injected into the two state-backed banks by the Government has gone directly into the Irish economy, the two lenders' subsidiary accounts show.
The £14bn amounts to more than a fifth of the £65bn UK taxpayers injected into RBS and Lloyds in 2008 and 2009, and is expected to rise further. Analysts estimate that RBS transferred another £2bn in 2012.
But now, this lurch to the hard left by the Irish because they are against the necessary cuts show the country still wants to pursue the reckless path of living beyond its means.
The UK's bailout of its nearest neighbour has amounted to £14 billion (€17.2 billion) since 2010.
Sources: A bit of research on the World Wide Web
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 2nd, 2014 at 08:56 AM..