Ireland experienced a booming economic upswing, known as the Celtic Tiger, from the 1990s – 2000s. The Fianna Fail Party was in control of the government, creating an economic model based on the opinions of policymakers and think tanks. This model depended on a low 12.5% corporate tax rate, an incentive that drove multinational tech companies to relocate their bases to Ireland to export to the European market. With the foreign high-tech companies setting up their headquarters in Ireland to avoid exposing profits to their countries’ tax authorities, foreign direct investment in the country thrived. In 2008, the Heritage Foundation named Ireland as the third most “economically free” country in the world, making the country a popular destination for global citizens in peril in their home countries. Once known as the poor European Union (EU) outsider, perception of Ireland in the Union changed – with Ireland now one of the EU’s richest members due to their successful development in the era of globalization.
Growth in Ireland’s economy due to the new economic model not only reduced unemployment, it also led to a decrease in the outward migration and increase in immigration of laborers. Augmented immigration to the country during the Celtic Tiger period was also assisted by Ireland’s high wage economy and safer living and working conditions (Kropiwiec, 2006). Upon arrival, the immigrants were aided by the loosely regulated banking sector – with carless property development and homebuyer lending from funds borrowed EU and US banks were available at half-price interest rates. Making the initial transition to settling in a home easier, the widely available loans lead to chain migration, with Irish immigrants informing others in similar dire situations about the ‘stable’ Irish state. Seeing as the loans were extended to property developers as well, the growth of the population and economy opened the door for the expansion of the construction sector. However, this industry’s foundation was extremely unstable, ultimately forming a real estate bubble. Pricing of houses rapidly increased when compared with building costs, while housing investments continued to rise as the construction industry flourished (Kelly, 2011).


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