A UK investment group is betting that shares in Ireland’s biggest private landlord – Irish The real estate investment trust floated on the stock market in 2014, …

What has changed in Ireland due to the Celtic Tiger boom?

Ireland changed dramatically and its more than just the clichès. Firstly, Ireland has moved into a high wage economy – in the 1960’s – 1980’s, Ireland had a low real income wage – but a lot more of the economy has moved up into the higher middle class income bracket. Unfortunately, most of that is in the 50% Civil Service (which requires the other 50% to generate the GDP and economic output to pay for that).

Ultimately, the FDI and industries created in Ireland around Technology, Finance, BioPharma, R&D and agriculture (which keeps growing too) – Ireland has been spared the dire economic consquences for nations like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other EU members where unemployment is so bad its hard to conceive recovery. Right now, Irish unemploeyment is technically bellow 10% – and also in thanks to emigration the USA (which has always been Ireland’s plan B economic & employment policy)

Infrastructure
Ireland tried building metro rail links, airports and motorways but, true to form, absolutely screwed it up, spending far too much money on too little infrastructure. The motorways that were built are fantastic examples of solid, clean, modern highway infrastructure – but these are between the capital and it’s remote cities – inter-city motorways only exist as short add-ons or in planning permission.

Ireland spent way too much on the LUAS and Dublin and Limerick Tunnels – the Limerick Tunnel should have been a bridge and cost just 10% of the tunnel (which now operates at a loss). The Dublin Port tunnel … well…too small, too costly, didn’t do a lot but better than nothing.

The LUAS cost 10X more than the vaster, more complex and bettter integrated Barcelona and Madrid undergrounds. the Dublin one being slower and not connected will require even more investment to build an actual underground link. As it rides on the streets, it really doesn’t remove traffic. How and ever, it is it profitable and has been widely welcomed

Private Investment
Irish citizens were obsessed with investment properties and instead of just looking at the investment value and rental ROI – they combined rapidly rising prices which allowed people to buy over inflated assets – at home and abroad. While house prices in Dublin certainly are growing and catching up – its the further predictive index that was wrong. Thus you ended up with mortgages for properties where rental income isn’t enough, because the mortgage included a profit on future sale. This clear-out has cost the banks, state and ultimately the citizens about €34bn

Investment in shares
Ireland tried to create an investor class – and nearly did, exceeding the UK’s once goal of having 50% of the economy as shareholders – but alas it was in eircom, not the first of many state/state-colluded ponzi schemes that collapsed.

Whether or not Ireland has created an investor/shareholder class remains to be seen. At least, there’s a lot better education about now.

Socially
Socially, Ireland has advanced into a more liberal society. It’s still a fun loving, friendly, great place to live but with less of the ties. Irish people are harder working. It’s much more concerned with the right of humans than the right of states. It remains staunchly in favor o the EU, has built a much better relationship with it’s neighbour the UK and continues to try to drive the church out of the state. In just 25 years, Ireland has become much more tolerant and accepting of different cultures, religions and orientation in everyday society

Best of all – Irish people don’t go to social events with a list of investment properties that they bought over breakfast in countries they can’t even pinpoint on a map. That for me is one of the best things

Industry
Ireland has stayed on  – and emerged as a very strong leader in tech, finance and pharma – and grown it’s workpool and talent in these areas, which have saved it from a much deeper, more calamitous economic crash.

Ireland is any easy country to invest in, do business in and has low levels of red tape, and very good systems in place to help build up companies, especially in tech, food, biopharma, finance and agribusiness.

Employers (including semi-states) are “off-setting” or reducing their employee TCO by outsourcing to companies who pay less and have less benefits.

The future
Ireland will continue to be a country of stronger food production, thanks to its climate. It has a lot to play for in tourism, if it can finally understand its different tourist markets. Expensive airfare, esp from the USA will be its biggest threat.

Exports of high quality, highly desirable products like whisky, Guinness, Beef etc hold the best return for the private citizens.

Strong FDI and a growth of the technology could easily tip Ireland into another boom. Hopefully we’ll be more mature this time.