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Social Policy in Challenging TimesEconomic Crisis and Welfare Systems$
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Kevin Farnsworth and Zoe Irving

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428288

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428288.001.0001

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Ireland and the impact of the economic crisis: upholding the dominant policy paradigm

Ireland and the impact of the economic crisis: upholding the dominant policy paradigm

(p.181) Ten Ireland and the impact of the economic crisis: upholding the dominant policy paradigm
Social Policy in Challenging Times

Mairéad Considine

Fiona Dukelow

Policy Press

This chapter analyses emerging responses to the impact of the global economic crisis in Ireland, with particular focus on the consequences for the social welfare system. Since the mid-1990s, Ireland was feted for following policies approved by advocates of neo-liberal economic globalisation to harness its potential benefits, resulting in unprecedented levels of economic growth. Recently, it has rapidly gained an equally strong reputation as a country suffering the worst effects of the global recession, with a severe economic contraction and fiscal crisis. The chapter sets the backdrop for examining the current crisis, with reference to the evolution of the dominant economic paradigm and the position of the Irish welfare state in that context. It explains the specifics of the crisis, referring to the constellation of domestic and global factors that have impacted on Ireland's problems. Arguing that Ireland's response to the crisis represents not so much reconfiguration but a reinforcement of Ireland's pre-existing economic model, particular attention is given to analysing the framing of the crisis and the crisis response. This analysis is brought to bear on an examination of the impact of the policy responses on social protection, where austerity and retrenchment measures to date suggest a closer adherence to the liberal traditions of the Irish welfare state.

Keywords:   Irish welfare state, economic crisis, retrenchment, path dependency, social protection

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