A new resurgence post – 2003 – After a slowdown in 2001 – 2003, Irish economy began to gain pace again in late 2003 and 2004. This resurgence period was termed as “Celtic Tiger 2” and “Celtic Tiger Mark 2”. Amongst the EU-15 states, the Irish growth was observed as highest at 4.5%. This growth was more than that of Italy, Germany and France and there were even more positive forecasts for the Irish economy for 2005. There was an increase in Foreign Direct Investment in 2006 with an increase of job opportunities in IDA supported jobs. According to some analysts, this growth of Irish economy was due to an increase in property values. The tourism sector also picked up after 9/11 attacks and Foot and mouth disease. Around 25% of all European PCs and major computer firms had their operations in Ireland. As the global IT industry recovered, Ireland’s IT sector took pace too with Google opening an office in Dublin.
The economic boom in 2004 was a result of soaring property market. The construction industry constituted nearly 12% of GDP and saw the construction of 80,000 new homes.
The competitiveness of the Irish economy was lost due to inflation, rising wages and excessive public spending. The wages in Ireland are much more than the EU average. These factors led to a downfall with the professional outsourcing jobs on the rise in Poland and many Irish jobs of big companies were transferred to Poland.
Flourishing promotion of indigenous industries is one of the major challenges facing Ireland. There are a few international companies in Ireland with over one billion euros in annual revenue. With an aim of boosting Ireland’s industry, in 2003, the Irish government launched a website to market the process and streamlining of the business in Ireland.
Around 80% of Ireland’s energy is produced from imported fossil fuels. Various hydroelectric projects as well as peat bogs were developed by Ireland which has raised concerns of global warming. Thus, the government has shifted to wind and wave power. The government has estimated that by 2020, 40% of the country’s energy requirements will be contributed by renewable sources which are well higher than the EU average.
New wealth of Ireland is not evenly distributed. In ESRI report of 2006, Ireland was the 2nd most unequal country in Europe.
In September 2008, Ireland became the first country from eurozone to officially declare recession.