chapter  12
12 Pages

Ireland on the world stage: conclusions and challenges

The processes of globalisation and intenlationalisation have produced profound change in Ireland since the 1950s. This transfotmatiol1, however, was also created by the conscious decision of Irish political and other leaders to aggressively pursue an international strategy of tTIodemisation and econonlic growth. Entering the then EEe (today the EU) as one of the less economically advanced states, Ireland today has the reputation as a Celtic Tiger because of the rapid growth of its econonlY in the 1 990s. Rcfonl1s in education and the successful quest to attract foreign investment have increased job opportunities and dramatically inlproved the standard of living for Irish citizens. Participation in the EU has moved Ireland from economic dependence on Britain to a relationship of interdependency. Indeed, in one scholar's view, ' ... Europe symbolizes the end of empire and, therefore, the obsolescence of the ancient English-Irish quarrel' (Garvin 2000: 43). The impact of intenlational media and participation in the EU has produced important cultural change. Although the Irish continue to participate in religion at 111uch higher levels than other modern nations, there has been a significant degree of sccularisation. Women have acquired a greater voice in Irish life and more access to jobs (Galligan 1998a). In brief, while retaining sonle aspects of its traditional culture, Ireland has become a modem nation.