More than 100 Irish academics: Αusterity has ravaged both Ireland and Greece


The Irish government routinely claims Greece should follow the Irish example: take its 'austerity' medicine and then experience 'recovery'. As academics in Ireland, we know this is a deeply flawed claim.

First, Ireland is a much more open economy than Greece – the recent increases in Irish GDP are largely based on exports of products such as pharmaceuticals, for which international demand remains buoyant.  The more closed structure of the Greek economy makes replicating this impossible.

Second, and more importantly, the benefits of this growth have not trickled down to the vast majority of Ireland’s people. Yes, unemployment has fallen, but net emigration has exceeded that drop. Furthermore, a growing proportion of work is part-time, insecure and even unpaid. Average wages continue to fall: it is estimated that one in four of the workforce earns less than a living wage. The percentage of children in deep, consistent poverty doubled between 2008 and 2013, to 12 per cent.

Workers and non-workers alike have suffered from rising taxes (including new property and water charges) and cuts to social services: the latest cut is a reduction in an allowance for many lone parents, a group already suffering extreme deprivation.

Third, the argument that this 'progress' has been helped by a negotiated restructuring of Irish debt is hollow: the 2013 deal on Ireland's 'promissory note' debt transformed soft (and cancellable) debt into sovereign debt – to be paid in full until 2053.

In summary, the Irish 'recovery' has been partial, unequal and, in many respects, illusory. It in no way constitutes a model for Greece or anywhere else to follow. Instead, we stand in solidarity with the Greek people as they struggle for genuine economic recovery for all, based on the write-down of illegitimate debt.


More than 100 present and retired academics in Ireland, including

Andy Storey, John Geary, Bryan Fanning, Mary Gallagher, Margaret Kelleher, Gerardine Meaney, Dara Downey, Alice Feldman, Jane Grogan, Anne Mulhall, John Baker, Theresa Urbainczyk, Kieran Allen, Ailbhe Smyth, Julien Mercille, Marie Moran, Kathleen Lynch, Mariya Ivancheva, Theresa O’Keeffe, Judy Walsh, Mary Purcell, Maggie Feeley, Mary McAuliffe, Roland Erne, Katherine O'Donnell, Sean L'Estrange, Mary Alacoque Ryan, Mark Price, Kathryn Keating, Tom Murray, Amanda Slevin, Sharae Deckard, Michael O’Flynn, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN; Ciaran Cosgrove, Barbara Bradby, Norah Campbell, Sinead Pembroke, Jude Lal Fernando, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN; Helena Sheehan, Eugenia Siapera, Jenny Williams, Paola Rivetti, Maeve O’Brien, Marnie Holborow, Karen Devine, Eileen Connolly, Antonio Toral, Kenneth McDonagh, Ellen Reynor, Mark O’Brien, Alexander Baturo, DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY; Luke Gibbons, Joe Cleary, Peadar Kirby, Ann Hegarty, Rory Hearne, Mary Gilmartin, Bernie Grummell, Colin Coulter, Laurence Cox, Sinead Kennedy, Robert Aiden Lloyd, John Reynolds, Pauline Cullen, Catherine Friedrich, Chandana Mathur, Michael Byrne, Steve Coleman, Jamie Saris, Sinead Kelly, MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY; Rosie Meade, Piaras Mac Einri, Clare O’Halloran, John Maguire, Colin Sage, Lydia Sapouna, Féilim Ó hAdhmaill, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK; Conleth D. Hussey, Eoin Devereaux, John Lannon, Lee Monaghan, Mikael Fernström, UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK; Eithne Murphy, Lionel Pilkington, Paul Michael Garrett, Brian O’Boyle, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, GALWAY; Michael Pierse, QUEENS UNIVERSITY BELFAST; Goretti Horgan, ULSTER UNIVERSITY; Brian Hanley, independent scholar; Harry Browne, Alan Grossman, Michael Carr, Pat Hannon, James Rock, Michael Foley, Fabian McGrath, Jim Roche, Martin Hanrahan, Richard Fitzsimons, Edward Brennan, DUBLIN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY; Tom O’Connor, Brian McMahon, Cork IT; Kevin Farrell, IT Blanchardstown; Niamh McCrea, IT Carlow; Martin Marjoram, IT Tallaght; Tom Boland, IT Waterford; Justin Carville, Cormac Deane, Mark Curran, Paula Gilligan, INSTITUTE OF ART, DESIGN and TECHNOLOGY; Maurice Coakley, Barry Finnegan, GRIFFITH COLLEGE DUBLIN; David Hughes, ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS IRELAND