By 2009, a National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), a state funded ‘bad bank’ was in place, and unemployment, which had been 4.8% in 2007 rose to 13.1%. By 2013 the unemployment rate had trebled since 2008 to more than 14% and the annual rate of emigration increased by over 350% in the same period, with 200,000 Irish nationals emigrating. In early 2011, estimates put the drop in house prices at 55-60% and it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that the performance of the Irish political and economic system during the property price crash, the banking crisis and the deficit debacle revealed many unsavoury truths about Ireland that the unregulated growth and wealth of the Celtic Tiger had obscured. Three reports commissioned by the government into the collapse of the economy suggested the burden of responsibility was broad, with insufficient surveillance, warnings not heeded and a ‘national speculative mania’ which was another misdirected exaggeration and exacerbated the tendency towards a pseudo-historical analysis. Crucially, there was no comprehensive official inquiry into the failings of the banks and no accountability with regard to their practices, which means the public narrative about what actually happened, remained vague and incomplete.


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