The property bubble and the irish economy Essay


The Irish economic system is sing its worst economic downswing in its history of province being. The cause of this economic crisis has been identified as a major belongings bubble development, allowing the Irish banking system to go over-exposed to such a belongings bubble. The edifice and building sector grew to a degree that was twice the size that would hold usually been sustainable and as a consequence, the subsequent over-heated belongings bubble “ explosion ” ensuing in the economic crisis Ireland faces today ( Bergin et al. , 2009 ) . Although the planetary economic system is presently traveling through a crisis of its ain, Haughton ( 2009 ) suggests that the Irish economic system would hold suffered irrespective of the planetary recognition crunch due to the initial size and extent of the belongings clang.

To derive a better apprehension on how the prostration of Irelands belongings bubble contributed to the current economic crisis, it has been identified that building end product accounted for around 19.5 % of Irelands GDP ( Gross Domestic Product ) in 2006 ( Mc Nulty. , 2008 Provisional ) . Because the building sector accounted for such a big proportion of economic wealth, its contraction has brought about farther economic jobs on a much wider graduated table across the overall economic system.

For the overall Irish economic system, figures for 2008 and 2009 indicate a weakening in economic growing. In 2008 as a whole, GDP decreased by 3 per cent taging the first one-year contraction in economic activity since 1983. A farther and much steeper diminution occurred in 2009. During the first one-fourth of the twelvemonth, GDP contracted 9.3 per cent and GNP ( Gross National Product ) by 13.1 per cent. This basically means that for every euro in the economic system for the first one-fourth of 2008, 10 cent had been removed from every euro for the same period of 2009 ( Power 2009 ) .

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The extent of the current economic crisis in comparing to the old one during the 1980s has been illustrated by the NESC ( 2009 ) in that the old ages 2007 and 2008 surpasses the old Irish economic downswing of the eightiess. GDP growing decreased in entire by 7.8 % in 2007 and 2008. It took six old ages from 1978 to 1983 for GDP to fall at a similar rate.

The Property Bubble and the Banking Crisis:

‘History shows that it is the nature of any bubble, but peculiarly in existent estate, that it creates a “ bubble outlook ” : a belief that monetary values can non travel down and that borrowing or imparting on the security of houses is a safe investing. It was this belief, both driver of and driven by the recognition bubble, which inflated house monetary values to extraordinary highs. ‘

Calverley ( 2009, p.ix )


The CIF/IHBA ( 2009 ) place Irelands house edifice industry as one of the chief drivers of the Irish economic system over the last 10 old ages. A harsh but yet necessary accommodation is besides taking topographic point in the lodging sector with inauspicious developments in the wider national and international economic system lending greatly to the overall downswing in the lodging market.

The Rise & A ; Fall of the Housing and Property Bubble:

Honohan ( 2009a ) identifies a phase of the Irish economic system in which rapid growing and enlargement occurred. This beginning of growing has been identified as a decennary long belongings monetary value and building roar which had taken over from exports as the chief supplier for Irish growing. This was fuelled by a crisp autumn in involvement rates and an overall addition in family formation.

In relation to the belongings bubble identified by Honohan ( 2009a ) , this marked a comfortable clip for the Irish economic system with unprecedented degrees of end product besides being achieved by the building industry. The NESC ( 2008 ) province that the degree in lodging end product ( private and public ) reached its extremum with over 93,000 units completed in 2006. Haughton ( 2009 ) continues to province that during the twelvemonth 2007 edifice and building accounted for 20 per cent of GDP, twice the proportion of the USA who besides experienced a belongings bubble at the clip.

During this clip of unprecedented economic growing, Ireland besides saw a rapid addition in house monetary values. Harmonizing to the NCA ( 2008 ) between the 11 twelvemonth period of 1995 to 2006, the mean house monetary value increased by 13.3 % per annum with the degree of house monetary values top outing at an norm of a‚¬311,100 during the January/February period of 2007.

There was of class much guess amongst economic expert that such a rise in belongings monetary values would take to a belongings bubble and a diminution in such house monetary values following a bubble would take to black effects for the Irish economic system as a whole. A survey by McQuinn ( 2004, p.1 ) states that ‘significant and relentless house monetary value additions of the type witnessed in the domestic belongings market gives rise to the possibility of a bad bubble and the attendant possibility of a prostration of such a bubble. A important diminution in house monetary values degrees over a comparatively short period of clip airss troubles on an economy-wide footing. Housing end product in the Irish economic system in 2002 amounted to about 60,000 units, which is over seven times the per caput of end product in most EU states. As a consequence, the building industry in 2002 contributed over 15 per cent to national end product. A diminution in this degree of activity in the housing/construction sector would hold serious deductions for the general economic system. The value of lodging represents a important part of personal wealth degrees, a serious eroding of such degrees would probably ensue in a negative wealth consequence in the economic system. ‘

Establishing the current province of the Irish economic system on the survey by McQuinn ( 2004 ) there are two factors deemed to be co-related and should be carefully examined to measure the state of affairs. They are:

1. House Prices.

2. House completions.

House Monetary values and completions:

The recent accommodation seen in the lodging market has brought a contraction in the degree of lodging building which has resulted in a diminution in house monetary values.

A survey undertaken by Kelly ( 2007 ) consists of an analysis of house monetary value rhythms across OECD states since 1970. The survey finds a strong relationship between the extent of the initial rise and subsequent autumn of house monetary values and if this relationship between rise and autumn were to keep for Ireland, it could ensue in a autumn of 40 % to 60 % of existent house monetary values over an 8 to 9 twelvemonth period and that due to the remarkably big size of the Irish house edifice sector, even a little autumn in house monetary values could enforce a heavy accommodation on the economic system.

In more recent times following the Kelly survey, its findings bare a important skin color on the Irish lodging sector in that a rapid diminution in house monetary values has occurred ensuing in an crisp accommodation on the economic system.

From their extremum in January/February of 2007, national house monetary values have declined on mean 26.6 % up to December 2009. For the first 10 months of 2009 entirely, national house monetary values declined on norm from a‚¬261,573 in December 2008 to a‚¬228,347 in October 2009. This represents a autumn in house monetary values of 12.7 % for the first 10 months of 2009, stand foring about half of the overall diminution in house monetary values since their extremum. National house monetary values are now at the same degree as they were in October 2003 ( Permanent TSB/ERSI, 2009 ) .

The CSO ( 2008 ) province that there were over 78,000 houses and flats completed in 2007. This represented an addition of 35 % on the 2002 figure but it besides represented a 12 % lessening on the 2006 figure. Private houses and flats contributed to over 91 % of entire completions in Ireland for 2007. In comparing to the afore mentioned 93,000 units completed in 2006, CIF/IHBA ( 2009 ) forecast the entire figure of lodging completions for 2009 to be in about 28,000. It is besides expected that contraction will see no meaningful recovery until 2012. At least non until the current supply of vacant lodging stock is absorbed and current developments are complete.

The Collapse of the Property Bubble and the Irish Economy: The Causes:


The belongings roar that took clasp on the Irish economic system had a major influence on the economic system as a whole. The Irish economic system was surely a much healthier one at the extremum of the building roar than it is now, but what fuelled this belongings roar to do Ireland make such high degrees of economic wealth? Ross ( 2009 ) indicates that the Irish economic system was driven, and subsequent economic downswing caused by taking Irish Bankss who recklessly loaned money to belongings developers and builders to fuel the building roar.

The Bankers and Property Developers:

‘Some observers, both domestic and international, have attributed the strong public presentation of the Irish belongings market to `excessive` loaning by Irish recognition establishments. ‘

( Fitzpatrick and McQuinn. , 2004 )

McQuinn & A ; O`Reilly ( 2007 ) find cross-country grounds that there is a direct nexus between the handiness of recognition and house monetary values in that house monetary values were being driven by the handiness of cheaper recognition. Other grounds suggests that there are strong links between the monetary values of commercial belongings, recognition and the macro-economy. Evidence besides suggests that increased commercial belongings monetary values resulted in increased recognition enlargement in some states and that in other states, imparting encouragements belongings monetary values ( Davis and Zhu 2004 ) . It is a good known fact that taking Irish Bankss came under sustained force per unit area for giving out loans to fuel the building roar. To understand why these loan demands became so great, a survey undertaken by Fase ( 1995 ) found that during times of economic wealth, the demand for loans additions.

In the instance of the property-led flourishing Irish economic system from 2000 onwards, the findings made by Fase ( 1995 ) likewise use. Between September 2003 and February 2007, the demand for recognition to fund mortgages increased quickly from a‚¬50.5 billion to a‚¬120.5 billion. This reflected an mean one-year addition of 29 % of recognition demand. Baur and McKeating from Reuters Ecowin ( 2008 ) . A different position on such a demand for recognition is given by the Central Bank of Ireland ( 2008 ) saying that of a‚¬401 billion loaned by Irish Bankss to the private sector at March 2008, a‚¬251 billion ( 62.6 % ) consisted of building and belongings related loaning ( including personal mortgages ) .

The Bankss of class needed entree to such money to fund this monolithic addition in demand for mortgage recognition. Honohan ( 2009b ) identifies that the Irish Bankss borrowed tremendous amounts of money from abroad to fulfill the demand for recognition. These foreign adoptions obtained by Irish Bankss were easy available due to the accretion of planetary nest eggs and the deficiency of exchange rate hazard for borrowing within the euro country. By the terminal of 2003, net indebtness of Irish Bankss compared to the remainder of the universe was merely 10 per cent of GDP. By 2008 nevertheless, it had increased to over 60 per cent.

Kenny ( 1998 ) suggests that the Irish banking sector is straight vulnerable to any alterations that may happen within the lodging market because mortgage debt histories for a important proportion of the entire plus base for most fiscal establishments and in bend, fluctuations in house monetary values may change the value of mortgaged assets. McQuinn ( 2004 ) suggests a similar theory in that, a terrible lessening in house monetary values would more than probably consequence in many families holding mortgages that are greater in value than the belongings itself i.e. negative equity. Should an addition in mortgage refund defaults occur, jobs may originate presenting serious inquiries for the stableness of the Irish fiscal sector.

In an article published in the Irish Examiner by Claire O` Sullivan ( 15/01/2010 ) it states that in the twelvemonth 2009, 26,000 householders were reported to hold had troubles in run intoing their mortgage refunds.

Give illustration of people unable to refund mortgages and how it has affected fiscal sector.

The Mortgage War:

The demand for recognition to fund family mortgages besides brought a sense of fight between Bankss to procure mortgage trades. This fight nevertheless resulted in Bankss cutting corners, loosen uping loaning criterions and easing recognition conditions. A move that would hold important effects on the Irish economic system. Ross ( 2009 ) identifies this stage of fight between Irish Bankss as “ The Mortgage War ” in which Bank of Scotland became the first foreign bank to dispute the of all time dining Irish mortgage market. It did so by cutting mortgage involvement to 3.99 % while other taking Bankss had been bear downing on mean 1.25 % higher. Within two hebdomads both Allied Irish Bank ( AIB ) and Bank of Ireland besides lowered their mortgage involvement rates severally. AIB matched the Bank of Scotlands 3.99 % while Bank of Ireland lowered their rate to 3.95 % . At the same clip, loaning criterions began to steal as Bankss got caught up in the competitory side of people obtaining cheaper mortgages. Loans of three – four times a individuals income were besides adopted as oppose to the old two and a half times. Mortgage footings were besides extended from 20 or 25 old ages to 35 or even 40 old ages. Buyers were now able to afford more because of the longer pay back term of the loans. By 2006, 70 % of purchasers had taken out mortgages for a term of 30 old ages or more.

Loan-to-Value Mortgages:

Loan-to-value ( LTV ) loans became a more common pattern amongst Irish Bankss as the building sector expanded and as economic wealth increased. A high LTV residential mortgage has been defined as “ any loan, line of recognition, or combination of credits secured by liens on or involvements in owner-occupied 1- to 4- household residential belongings that equals or exceeds 90 per cent of the existent estate ‘s appraised value. ( Wang ( 2007, p.2 from ( see underside of page ) . In simpler footings, this means that the mortgage loan being offered is for 90 per cent or more of the value of the belongings. ( give hazards of ltv mortgages here. )

In an Irish context, Ross ( 2009 ) evaluates this hazardous signifier of loaning adopted by Irish Bankss. 2005 saw the debut of 100 per cent mortgages which meant a loan for the full merchandising monetary value of the belongings. First Active were the first to present such loans followed by EBS, Permanent TSB, Bank of Ireland and the Irish Civil Service Building Society. In 2006, 36 % of first clip purchasers availed of 100 per cent mortgages.

Poor Regulation by the Financial Regulator:

A important warning mark frequently used by regulators to place an open bank is when an one-year growing rate of 20 per cent existent occurs every bit illustrated by Anglo Irish Bank when they exceeded the 20 per cent grade in 8 out of 9 old ages. Its one-year mean growing rate from 1998 – 2007 was in fact 36 per cent. Irish Nationwide besides crossed the 20 per cent grade in 6 out of 9 old ages ( Honohan 2009b ) . The inquiry must so be asked, why were these fiscal establishments non regulated to the ordinance criterions set out?

To derive a better apprehension on why Irish Bankss were non regulated right, a survey analyzing the additions and lessenings in existent house monetary values since 1970 across 18 major industrial states with peculiar attending being paid to pecuniary policy patterns shows that house monetary value roars are by and large accompanied by a relaxation of pecuniary policy. ( Ahearne et al. , 2005 ) .

The findings made by Ahearne et al. , ( 2005 ) mirror strongly, the pecuniary policy adopted by the Financial Regulator of Ireland during the building roar old ages. The CCP ( 2009 ) conclude that the Financial Regulator did non adhere to its primary responsibility in guaranting a healthy fiscal sector was maintained. Furthermore, consumers with mortgages will endure due to the unsatisfactory supervising by the Financial Regulator on Irish Bankss foolhardy patterns.

Employment and Construction Output:

Co-relation Between building activity & A ; employment tendencies.

A recent survey by the RICS ( 2008 ) suggests that there is a strong relationship between the diminution in building activity and employment tendencies across the Irish building sector. The RICS ( 2008 ) continues to province the cardinal grounds for the loss of occupations in that the recent tightening of recognition conditions means that first-time house purchasers can non acquire mortgage blessing, ensuing in homebuilders and developers discontinuing work due to miss of gross ensuing in a decrease of building end product. This consequences in developers and homebuilders neglecting to finish developments due to miss of demand. To restrict the consequence of this to a certain extent, builders and developers seek to cut down their cost base to stay solvent. The first costs to be cut are variable costs which by and large mean a large-scale decrease in the work force.

Unemployment amongst Irish Construction Workers.

The relationship is clearly apparent in an Irish context in that the diminution in building end product has had a important consequence on employment tendencies across the building sector. Due to the strong correlativity between the building industry and the wider economic system, the building sector has been the most affected country above all other sectors. DKM ( 2007 ) province that during the peak point of the building end product, there were 280,300 individuals employed in the building sector. This figure represented 13.4 % of Irelands entire employment. The NESC ( 2008 ) give a different position on the employment degrees achieved in the building industry, saying that the sector was responsible for 29.3 % of the states entire employment growing between 2000 and 2006. Within this six twelvemonth period, employment increased by an one-year norm of 8 per cent within the building industry.

The NESC ( 2008 ) continues to detail the pronounced lag in employment figures within the building industry, bespeaking a terrible downswing in the economic system and a crisp rectification of the lodging market. Construction industry employment continued to turn during 2007 with a farther addition of 3.6 % . Following this addition nevertheless, a pronounced lag in the growing of building employment occurred and during the same twelvemonth, this figure turned negative in the concluding one-fourth of 2007. It was clear at this point that the economic crisis was get downing to take its toll on the building sector. Employment in the building sector fell by 2 % ( 5,600 people ) in the twelvemonth to the concluding one-fourth of 2007, in comparing to an addition in employment of 12 % in the same period of 2006.

More recent figures released by the CSO ( 2009 ) indicate that the building sector suffered more among any other sector in that employment in the building sector fell by 80,800 ( -34.8 % ) between the beginning of January to the terminal of September of 2009. Besides from its extremum of 273,000 employed in the building sector in the 2nd one-fourth of 2009, a diminution of 115,000 individuals has occurred ( Beggs et al. , 2009 ) Check! !

Unemployment amongst non-Irish subjects.

Since the constitution of the European Union, it allows for citizens of EU states the right to be employed in any EU member province. Irelands building sector accounted for the largest portion of employment in all EU states. In 2005, it accounted for 12.6 % of entire employment in the sector. ( Bobek et al. , from CSO 2006 ( 2008 ) . As the building sector histories foe such a big proportion of foreign employment, it was deemed necessary to be analysis.

Harmonizing to the CSO ( 2009 ) non-Irish subjects accounted for 13.7 % of all individuals aged 15 and over in employment during the 3rd one-fourth of 2009 in comparing to 15.4 % in the 3rd one-fourth of 2008, demoing a lessening of 1.7 % in the Irish labour force. The building sector accounted for the largest lessening in employment across all sectors amongst non-Irish subjects where 19,100 lost their occupations.

It has been identified by Krings et Al ( 2009 ) that although both Irish and foreign national workers are affected by the economic crisis, the latter seem to be more affected when it comes to unemployment. Figures indicate that the unemployment rate among Irish subjects increased from 4.3 per cent to 7.3 per cent. In the instance of foreign subjects nevertheless the unemployment rate saw a crisp addition. It rose from 5.6 per cent to 9.5 per cent ( QNHS 2009 ) . Another index of the autumn of employment of foreign subjects as oppose to Irish subjects is presented by the Central Statistics Office ( 2009 ) . Between December 2007 and 2008, the figure of foreign subjects seeking societal public assistance benefits climbed to over 130 per cent from 23,234 to 54,455. as oppose to a much lesser figure of 60 per cent. It should besides be remembered nevertheless that there are far more Irish subjects working in the con ind tha non I

What does this mean for foreign subjects who have lost employment during the economic downswing? On one manus, the theory is that although unemployed, grounds suggests that migratory workers are staying in Ireland and non returning to their place states. Krings et Al ( 2009 ) concludes by saying that “ a important bulk of NMS migrators remain in employment, in malice of the downswing, and the state of affairs in the place states may be even worse. Furthermore, even if migrators should lose their occupation in Ireland, public assistance agreements offer some protection against unemployment. Furthermore, the longer migrators stay in the host state, the more non-economic factors such as societal webs and quality of life take on a greater importance. NMS migrators may be more nomadic than old coevalss of European immigrants, but for the minute at least, there is small grounds to propose that the current crisis will trip large-scale return migration from Ireland. ”

A more recent survey shows nevertheless that this is non the instance, ( see figure of aliens who have gone back to their state cso q3 2009 )

Consequence on Construction Output.

The diminution in building end product strongly mirrors the diminution in employment stated above. Harmonizing to the CSO ( 2007 ) “ The volume of production in edifice and building decreased by 8.1 % in the first one-fourth 2007 compared to the first one-fourth 2006. The volume of production in residential edifice decreased by 19.0 % in the first one-fourth of 2007 when compared with the corresponding period of 2006. The volume of residential end product has been diminishing on an one-year footing since the 2nd one-fourth of 2006. ” The most recent figures released by the CSO ( 2009 ) province that “ the volume of end product in edifice and building decreased by 36.9 % in the 3rd one-fourth of 2009 compared with the 3rd one-fourth of 2008. The autumn in the volume of end product mostly reflects diminutions of over 55 % and over 31 % severally in residential edifice work and non-residential edifice work. ”

When comparing this to the end product experienced in building during the roar old ages, the effects become obviously clear. ( province end product here )

Future employment.

Harmonizing to Morgenroth ( 2009 ) public capital undertakings is the long term hereafter for the building industry. It is improbable that employment degrees will make the same degrees as they did during their extremum and therefore the building industry will hold to turn once more along with building workers accomplishments. However given the sum of building workers in Europe, it may non take every bit long as expected to re-build the industry once more. It is besides noted that if policies back uping the building sector maintain the size of the sector above its long-term degree, it will merely prorogue farther contraction.

Morgenroth ( 2009, p.9 ) continues to province that “ it is of import to avoid a state of affairs where employment in the building sector is maintained at unnaturally high degrees through public undertakings as seems to hold been the instance with Japan. Japan has been passing systematically more on public capital than other OECD states. An frequently cited illustration is that of dike edifice. While Japan has merely about 100 major rivers and none longer than 367km, 100s of expensive dikes were built. Now building companies find a moneymaking market in leveling old dike. ” The effects of this are unneeded costs to public fundss which accommodate the payment of workers and running of the undertakings.


The Irish economic system has been brought to its articulatio genuss by what has been described as a twin crisis in that the chief driver of economic growing over the past decennary, the belongings bubble has collapsed, coupled with hapless bank related mortgage loaning patterns and failure by the fiscal regulator to lull such foolhardy patterns being carried out by Bankss. The drawn-out period of belongings related economic success gave a false sense of security to policy shapers who failed to guarantee the rudimentss ; Prudent and rigorous ordinance of the chief Irish Bankss.

Because the building sector was such a outstanding driver of economic growing, it has resulted in it being the most affected country across the labour force. Tens of 1000s of building workers continue to lose their occupations and fall in the long list of many who presently claim societal public assistance benefits or have been forced to emigrate to seek work in other states with more favourable economic conditions than Ireland.

Building and building end product is besides at a serious low chiefly because of over-developing during the roar old ages. Besides, house purchasers who one time bought belongings at the extremum of the building roar now find that their belongings is worth less than what they paid for it. Investors besides suffered as monetary values of the belongings they invested in declined.

While there is a possibility of economic recovery beginning by 2011, it is expected that the economic system will non make a meaningful phase of recovery until 2015 ( Bergin et al. , 2009 ) .


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Downgrading of Irelands international recognition evaluation ( p.13 )

Foreign investment ( p.13-14 )

Global downswing ( p.15

Now everything ‘s a small upside down, as a affair of fact the wheels have stopped, what ‘s good is bad, what ‘s bad is good, you will happen out when you reach the top, you ‘re on the underside

Bob Dylan, ‘Idiot Wind ‘ , 1974

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