It’s a catastrophe, even though some people are crowing about the admittedly large real GDP growth rates in 2014 and 2015 (at 5.2% and about 6.9% respectively). In the media, we find breathless stories about Ireland being the “fastest growing economy in Europe” as if Ireland’s brutal austerity is a viable model for the rest of Europe.
However, actual Irish real GDP still stands below its 2007/2008 peak, even after 8 years. The depth of Ireland’s collapse was on the scale of a depression (that is, where real output fell by 10% or more) and if it takes 6 years before some modest growth returns, you have to ask: how the bloody hell does anyone think this is a success story?
The Irish unemployment rate stands at 8.9% as of January 2016. This is a national disgrace.
Ireland is fast approaching ten years of high unemployment and neoliberal insanity, despite the somewhat better figures on GDP in 2014 and 2015.
Even worse, if it wasn’t for the mass emigration from Ireland since 2008, Ireland’s unemployment rate would be far higher than the 8.9% it is today, because the emigration has manifestly reduced the unemployment rate.