In Southern Ireland, the economic miracle is well and truly over. As we have predicted and explained for some time now, the Celtic Tiger phenomenon, did not mean that capitalism had solved any of its contradictions. On the contrary the boom in the south was based on an increased intensification of the exploitation of labour through a series of so-called social partnership deals, and a heavy reliance on the world market. As the world market dips into recession and drags the southern economy along with it the bosses intend to turn the screw even tighter on the working class in an attempt to maintain their profits.

For the fourth time in its short existence the Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended. On Monday October 14, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, announced that London was once again imposing direct rule. The whole process has been like a perverse game in which the workers hopes are constantly sent sliding backwards.

The situation in Ireland is changing very fast. After almost 10 years of economic boom (the "Celtic Tiger") the whole of the economy is in recession. In October unemployment rose by 5, 000. Aer Lingus has sacked 2, 000 workers, Nortel 265, RTE 160, Irish Times 250, FLS Aerospace 200, AFL 300, Tara Mines 700. The list is endless, and that is just in the third month of the recession. The Department of Trade and Enterprise has announced a 42% increase in redundancies for the year so far (the biggest increase since the beginning of the "Celtic Tiger" myth). Some analysts reckon that 20,000 jobs in the construction industry and 20,000 in tourism will be lost in the next 12 months.

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