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Ireland’s Bono boomers

David McWilliams astutely analyses the flaws in Ireland's recent economic miracle. But his more eccentric speculations on Irish identity and the future of the diaspora should be treated with caution

By John Kelly   May 2008

The Generation Game: Boom, Bust and Ireland’s Economic Miracle by David McWilliams (MacMillan, £20)

In the 1970s the Irish Republic was as dependent on agriculture as it was in the 1850s. For the landless, emigration continued to be the only option: people left at a rate of over 60,000 a year well into the late 20th century. The “luck of the Irish” was deeply ironic, until the Irish discovered they were Europeans.

In 1973, the republic joined the EEC. As one of the poorest countries, it enjoyed generous subsidies and grants which it put to good use attracting investment, mainly…

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