One factor which contributed to Ireland’s economic growth during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era was access to a cheap flexible labour supply. The Irish state played a central role in facilitating and shaping this labour supply, through its formulation of immigration policies and its role in influencing labour market structure, thereby influencing the nature of the workers who entered the Irish labour market. Placing the analysis of Irish immigration policy within the unfolding global systems of flows of people and capital prevents the classification of Ireland, or any country, as a unique experience. Economically driven moves by the Irish state, specifically in terms of labour supply, are evident in the recruitment drives supported through the Celtic Tiger and with the expansion of the European Union in 2004. This paper outlines how Ireland’s immigration policy during the Celtic Tiger shaped the labour market by determining which workers did what jobs. It also discusses the nature of the Irish state and how this contributes to immigration policy outcomes.
Source: Irish Geography, published online 08/07/2014