Fintan O’Toole: Ireland is now an upside down Celtic Tiger world

Public policy is still dominated by fear of a return of Celtic Tiger hubris. But 2020 is not like 2002

The disconnection between the economic boom and real quality of life is obvious, and it has created the demand for radical political change. Photograph: Getty Images

The disconnection between the economic boom and real quality of life is obvious, and it has created the demand for radical political change. Photograph: Getty Images

Generals always fight the last war. It is hard to blame them – what else can human beings do but draw lessons from what happened before and try to apply them to the next set of events? Yet in doing so they lose sight of radically new circumstances, ordering the cavalry to charge at machine-guns or building impregnable Maginot lines that a mobile enemy swerves around.

Ireland’s current political impasse arises because we have been fighting the last war. We got hammered and humiliated in the great Celtic Tiger crusade. Our invincible Grand Armée, the boom of whose artillery was always getting boomier, met its Waterloo on St Stephen’s Green in the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank.  

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