Economic Development and Irish Social Policy

Essay by luke999University, Bachelor'sC, November 2009

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In this essay I will discuss the topic of economic growth and development in Ireland, particularly in recent years and the resulting affects on social policy with regards to constitutional/legislation changes and the resulting positive and negative effects on the wellbeing of the people.

Economic development plays a crucial role in the development of social policy in any country as the progress of social policy and advancements in social welfare are mostly dependent on government funding, "the emergence of the state as a provider and regulator of welfare has given it a central role in shaping the mixed economy of welfare (Fanning, 2006)" . Social welfare is as vital in Ireland as any other country as it "assists both in ensuring the continuation, stability and efficient working of the economic system and in ensuring the integration of social classes and groups and the maintenance of order (Mel cousins, 1995)". During the last 30 years the Irish economy has seen many ups and downs, for example the recessions of the 70s and 80s to the "period of economic expansion over the last decade, often referred to as the Celtic Tiger (Fanning, 2006)", then arriving at the modern day recession.

However even though social welfare is dependent on government funding and intertwined with the economy it is not true to say that when the economy sees good/bad times that social welfare is affected accordingly. Also as economic spending is prioritised by the government, even if the funding is available, certain aspects of social welfare may not be top priority in the view of the government.

Take for example the social welfare and pensions acts of 2003 and 2008. Taking into account the economic situation of each year we could say that during 2003 Ireland was still thought to be economically secure and...