Colin Murphy, Playwright and Author.
Sep 25 2018 Posted: 10:51 IST


NUI Galway Conference Will Look at How Ireland has Changed Since the Financial Crisis 

“More reforms are needed to reduce economic and financial vulnerabilities. Ten years on, it is important that we debate what has really changed, and what else needs to change.” Professor Alan Ahearne, NUI Galway

NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and Moore Institute will host a conference ‘10 Years On: How Ireland Has Changed since the Financial Crisis’ in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway on Friday, 28 September. 

In the fateful decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the Bank Guarantee of September 2008, much has happened in Ireland – financial crisis, deep recession, bailout by the ‘Troika’, a protracted period of austerity followed by vigorous economic recovery. But what has really changed over the last ten years? What developments in the financial and political system have taken place and what has been the cultural effect of the crisis? Will we repeat the same mistakes or find ways to avoid them?

This major public event convened by the Whitaker Institute and the Moore Institute will examine these questions with a high profile group of participants, including keynote speeches by former Central Bank of Ireland governor, Patrick Honohan and playwright and author, Colin Murphy whose new two-part TV drama The Bailout on TV3/Virgin Media One, is based on his play of the same name, it looks back at how Ireland’s government had to seek a €64 billion EU/IMF bailout following the crash, and is a follow-up to Colin’s hugely successful The Guarantee.

Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said:“During the bubble years in the mid-2000s, Irish banks ballooned their lending to an overheated housing market, funded by short-term borrowing from international money markets. The Irish economy and government finances became dangerously dependent on the property sector. This time ten years’ ago, the chickens were coming home to roost. The financial crisis that followed prompted policymakers around the world to change the rules by which banks are regulated, government budgets are managed, and economic imbalances are identified and corrected.  But many of these new systems are untested. Effective early-warning systems are not yet fully developed. New challenges have surfaced over the past decade which may require new global multilateral institutions. And more reforms are needed to reduce economic and financial vulnerabilities. Ten years on, it is important that we debate what has really changed, and what else needs to change.”

Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The Financial Crisis has defined a decade of Irish life. This event gives us a chance to think of the impact of the crisis and the changes it has brought, in economic, cultural and political life. Have we created the conditions to prevent a repeat of this experience? Can we recover from the shadow of austerity without launching into a new crisis? Looking back at the last ten years of global economic crisis, how has Ireland coped with this calamity compared to other countries? The UK responded by going back to its elites, vesting confidence in Eton and Oxbridge-educated politicians and then plunging into Brexit. The US took another course, with people tearing one another apart politically as their financial fortunes eroded. In Ireland, different cultural resources came into play. A certain dose of fatalism, low expectations from the political process, and memories of a country without money proved an unexpected resource. Ireland was the envy of Europe in how accepting we have been of retrenchment and austerity. (Water charges became the unexpected scapegoat!) Will all of this make us better prepared to avoid a repeat experience or more liable to slip into old errors and simply shrug when things are going wrong? What are the psychological effects of going from a Tiger to a lamb in need of outside protection?”

Guest panelists include: Angela Knight CBE, former Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association; Fiona Ross, Chair, CIÉ; Professor John McHale, College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway; Frances Ruane, former Director, Economic and Social Research Institute; Stephen Collins, former Political Editor, The Irish Times; Professor Kate Kenny, Queen’s University Belfast and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor of History, NUI Galway.

The conference will take place on Friday, 28 September, 2018 in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society lecture theatre, North Campus, NUI Galway from 2pm-6pm.

The conference is free and open to the public but advance registration is essential at:


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