»They want us to pay all their bills and we’re getting tired of it now« (The story of IRELAND)

The story of Ireland is like a fairy tale: from rags to riches and back to rags again. Twenty-five years ago Ireland was mired in a deep peat bog of slow growth, high emigration,  shocking poverty. Then came the miracle of the »Celtic Tiger«, which briefly made Ireland the second-richest country in the European Union. A 2005 study by The Economist found Ireland to have the best quality of life in the world. The 1995 to 2007 period of very high economic growth, with a record of posting the highest growth rates in Europe. But The Financial Crisis of 2008 affected the Irish economy severely, compounding domestic economic problems related to the collapse of the Irish property bubble. (Leaders, 2011)

The main industries in Ireland are: pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware and software, food products, beverages and brewing, medical devices.

Ireland is one of the most open economics in the world. In 2008, for example exports plus imports were equivalent to 150 per cent of GDP. In 2012 exports have been growing at only 2% a year since last spring, the slowest since they started to recover in early 2010. (Nuno Fontes, 2013)


The standardised unemployment rate in April 2013 was 14.0 percent. The latest CSO labour force data indicate that there are 304,500 workers unemployed (205,700   males   and 98,800 females). Of these more than half are long-term unemployed (out of work for more than 1 year).

Last year, emigration was at its highest since the 19th century, with about 76,400 people leaving Ireland in one 12-month period, according to the Central Statistics Office. Many workers have been jobless for more than one year, and 30 percent of people aged 24 and under are unemployed. Unemployment has increased in all regions, being highest in the Southeast and lowest in Dublin and the Mid-East. (Nuno Fontes, 2013)


According to the Central Statistics Office, average weekly earnings in Ireland are 689 EUR, and average hourly earnings are 21.83 EUR. These figures are lower than last year. Average weekly earnings have fallen across many sectors, with the largest declines in construction and arts and entertainment. The largest increases were registered in professional, scientific and technical occupations; salaries are increasing at a higher rate in IT than in other sectors because of the demand for experienced candidates.

Occupations in Demand

Ireland boasts a highly skilled and educated workforce and does not experience any particular difficulties finding talent apart from engineers and IT professionals. Ireland reported the least amount of difficulty among countries surveyed. Irish employers do report difficulty filling the following positions, however: IT staff, nurses, sales managers, insurance staff, engineers, sales representatives, chefs and cooks, drivers…

In february 2013 in Ireland tens of thousands of people marched in six cities around Ireland protested against austerity measures, days after the government struck a vital deal on its bank debt. For protesters struggling with cuts in living standards, mortgage arrears or unemployment, the deal is scant consolation. In the crowd, a large number of public sector workers, frustrated by cuts in their basic pay and additional workplace demands, expressed anger at government plans to make further cuts in the sector. One of the teacher, who has seen his wages cut by 700 euros per month said, or about 20 percent, in the last five years said: »They want us to pay all their bills and we’re getting tired of it now.« (Stephen Mangan, 2013)

Stephen Mangan. (2013). Irish marchers protest nationwide against austerity. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/09/us-ireland-debt-idUSBRE9180BH20130209. Last accessed 25th April 2013.

Nuno Fontes. (2013). Ireland Unemployment Rate Stable at 14% in April. Available: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ireland/unemployment-rate. Last accessed 25th April 2013.

Leaders. (2011). Irish mist. Available: http://www.economist.com/node/18178137?zid=295&ah=0bca374e65f2354d553956ea65f756e0. Last accessed 25th April 2013.


Written by: Lenka Filova, Lucija Kacin, Cansu Bayar, Eyyüp Dönderalp


6 thoughts on “»They want us to pay all their bills and we’re getting tired of it now« (The story of IRELAND)

  1. It is very hard to live with cutting wages and there is nothing you can do. Especially the people who worked all day long hit hard by such measures, because they get lower wages, but the cost of living is the same. This means they have to conserve and can´t achieve the one or other wish.

  2. It is a situation that is happening all around us, not only in Ireland. The government keeps reducing wages and there is nothing we can do. Especially when unemployment rates are so big, that you are even lucky to have a job. Even trough the situation in Ireland is really difficult I believe that you will go from rags to rich again. If you got through it one time you will do it again, especially because you have a place to improve mostly by exporting goods and services.

  3. I agree with previous comments that many countries are facing with emigration because of cuts of living standards. For me Ireland situation feels kind of strange, because Ireland, in my opinion, was one of the countries who provided better wages, living standards for foreign workforce. But now Ireland is facing with high unemployment rate.

  4. The problem of tax increases and austerity measures the government is probably in every country. Governments are cutting, raise taxes and prices but people still have the same salaries. Or employers reduce salaries. Where governments want to go …. The poor are civilians, not the leaders of the countries.

  5. I think all Ireland can hope for is modest growth in output and an end to the labour market fall out.
    Nobody – abroad or native – believes that the Irish economy will come out of recession in 2013. I would say this is because and it has been the case for the last three years, a deterioration of the euro crisis remains the biggest foreseeable risk. That crisis is very far from being completely resolved and the very existence of the single currency remains in question.
    But for any positives that exist going further into the year for Ireland, there are more negatives. As has long been the case, one of the biggest obstacles to recovery will be household and corporate debt. The very slow rebuilding of balance sheets will grind on in 2013 and well beyond – reducing consumer spending and companies’ ability to invest.


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