Chapter

From financial crisis to welfare retrenchment: assessing the challenges to the Irish welfare state

Mairéad Considine and Fiona Dukelow

in Social Policy Review 24

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9781447304470
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307662 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781447304470.003.0013
From financial crisis to welfare retrenchment: assessing the challenges to the Irish welfare state

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This chapter considers the impact of the global economic crisis on the Irish welfare state. It begins by focusing on the vulnerability of Ireland's highly neo-liberalised and financialised economy and the debt burden of the ensuing banking crisis which was borne by the state and ultimately resulted in the intervention of the EU/IMF. This sets the context for examining how predominant crisis discourses tended to conflate the fiscal crisis with profligate public spending, leading to a perception that the welfare state is itself part of the problem. The chapter then looks at how the welfare state has also been challenged by the social costs of the recession while its capacity to cope has been weakened by retrenchment. The challenges for social protection are highlighted in particular. The final part takes stock of the politics of retrenchment and what bearing this may have on the welfare state post-crisis.

Keywords: Irish welfare state; Social protection; Economic crisis; Welfare retrenchment; Austerity

Chapter.  7818 words. 

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