ABSTRACT

Although it is generally accepted that Irish society has changed rapidly and radically during the past two decades (O’Connell 2001, Corcoran and Peillon 2002, O’Carroll 2002, Mulholland 2006, Cleary 2007), more recent dispatches tell a depressing story – ‘Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy is dead, and its cubs are . . . leaving’ (Meo 2008), while the postmortems continue as to who is to blame (Cooper 2009, O’Toole 2009, Ross and Webb 2010). The sub-prime tremors initially felt in the United States have subsequently created global seismic shifts that have turned international banking to rubble. In its wake, the Irish property bubble imploded, a phenomenon that was artificially inflating the national coffers and fuelling (profligate) public spending. Ireland’s reputation internationally shifted rapidly from European Union (EU) ‘poster-boy’ to being down among the ‘pi(i)gs’,1 thus, for those with long folk memories, shades of Irish portrayals by political cartoonists in latenineteenth-century London evoked twenty-first-century post-colonial senses of being ‘unworthy’ as the European Central Bank (ECB)/International Monetary Fund (IMF) rode to the fiscal ‘rescue’ of Ireland Inc. The major curriculum reforms and attendant continuing professional development (CPD) that are the focus of this

paper occurred during the boom years of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s, and the current more sober climate provides an important moment in which to reflect on the period in question. The purpose is to distil legacies and lessons from a policy and practice perspective that seem appropriate in the setting but with potential implications also in similar and other jurisdictions.