Ellen Hazelkorn. Over the past 40 years, Ireland has experienced a remarkable transformation in fortunes. Its emergence from a protectionist pre-industrial to a post-industrial high-tech economy came on the coat tails of European Union membership and accelerating internationalisation and deregulation of financial and investment markets.
Strategically situated between the United States and Europe, Ireland became a leading importer of foreign direct investment. By 2000, it was the second-largest exporter of computer software in the world after the US, and home to the top-10 pharmaceutical companies. The boom years of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ made it the poster child for globalisation. After the 2008 global financial crisis, Ireland became the symbol of economic collapse, before being rescued by the ‘troika’ of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank. Today, it is variously described as the great experiment or the success story for austerity.