Social and Economic Aspects of Ireland

This module is designed to inform and enhance the socio-cultural appreciation of Ireland by international learners, and to enable them to use standard economic tools to explore and evaluate fundamental aspects of the Irish economy.

On successful completion of this module learners should be able to:

  1. Discuss the socio-cultural, political and economic  dimensions of contemporary Ireland, identifying similarities and contrasts with the learner’s country of origin
  2. Identify the main civilisations, influences and events which have shaped society, politics and the economy of contemporary Ireland
  3. Explain the origins of the conflict in Northern Ireland and the progress made since the 1990’s
  4. Explain  the role  of the Irish language in modern Ireland, and assess the causes of its declining usage
  5. Explain the standard tools used by economists to analyse certain aspects of a national economy, and explore their applicability to aspects of the Irish economy
  6. Discuss  the causes and consequences of Ireland’s rise to economic prominence as a Celtic Tiger economy and its subsequent crash
  7. Examine and discuss key contemporary issues and options in relation to Irish social and economic policy

 

Course Content:

 

Social Aspects

 

Session 1

Facts about Ireland:  geography, climate, population, flag, language, religion, currency, natural resources, industry, agriculture, tourism

Session 2

Irish History:  from Neolithic times to the Plantations

Session 3

Irish History: from Rebellion to Modern Ireland

Session 4

Irish Political System: the Irish Constitution and the President

Session 5

Irish Political System:  the Oireachtas and the political parties; the Irish electoral system;  Ireland in international affairs

Session 6

Northern Ireland:  the origins of the conflict

Session 7

Northern Ireland:  the path to peace, current situation

Session 8

The Irish Language: origin and antiquity;reasons for decline; efforts at revival; situation today

Session 9

Social Exclusion in Ireland: guest lecture

Session 10

Q&A, revision, and exam preparation

 

Economic Aspects

 

Session 1

Economic History: the study of economic history; Irish economic history 1964-1994

Session 2

The ‘Celtic Tiger’: rise of the Celtic Tiger; determinants of Celtic Tiger growth; the Solow growth model and the Celtic Tiger

Session 3

Employment Growth and the Celtic Tiger: labour demand and labour supply; important determinants of labour demand and supply in Ireland’s Celtic Tiger

Session 4

The Celtic Bubble: timeline; key external and internal contributory factors; consequences; banking and fiscal crisis; bank guarantee

Session 5

Living Standards in Modern Ireland: real national income per capita; cost of living; poverty and equality; key contemporary trends in living standards

Session 6

Market Failure: externalities, public goods, information asymmetries; distributional concerns and monopoly power as justification for government intervention

Session 7

Principles of Tax and Economic Policy: efficiency, equity and simplicity in taxation and spending

Session 8

Education in Ireland:  pre-school, primary and secondary education; State examinations;  3rd level education; free education; potential solutions to the education funding gap

Session 9

Corporation Tax in Ireland: the threerates of Corporation Tax; effective rates of corporation tax; impact on  foreign investment; E.U. opposition; incidence of corporation tax

Session 10

Housing Policy and Other Areas of Specific Interest:  property tax versus stamp duty; issues surrounding implementation of property tax; efficiency and equity issues surrounding any other aspect of interest to the student cohort in question

 

Reading Lists and Other Resources

Social Aspects

  • Cleary, J and C Connolly (eds). The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture.  Cambridge University Press, 2005

  • Moody, TW and FX Martin. The Course of Irish History. Mercier Press, 2001
  • Kenneally, C.  A New History of Ireland.  The History Press, 2008
  • Coakley, J and M Gallagher. Politics in the Republic of Ireland. PSAI Press, 2010
  • McMurchaidh, C . Who needs Irish? Veritas, 2004

DVD’s

  • Michael Collins, Neil Jordan (1996)
  • The Wind that shakes the barley, Ken Loach (2006)
  • In the Name of the Father, Jim Sheridan (1993)
  • Hunger, Steve McQueen (2008)
  • The Commitments, Alan Parker (1991)
  • Once, John Carney (2006)
  • Angela’s Ashes, Alan Parker (1999)

Websites