Globalisation in Ireland

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There has been a continual debate between the ‘globalists’ and ‘sceptics’ as to what extent national actors determine the employment relations and work policies. Throughout this essay I will look at how capital, labour and the state have played a part in moulding Ireland’s employment relations model in recent decades and whether or not I favour the ‘globalists’ or ‘sceptics’ view on just how great there influence has been . Firstly I need to establish what globalisation is. Globalisation connotes the stretching and intensification of social, economic and political relations across continents (Held et all, 1999).

Capital is the first actor which I am going to look at. In the early 1950s Ireland was a closed economy. However from the late 1950’s on it slowly began to open up. By the 1960’s 25% of national output was being exported (O’Toole, 2003), which although still comparatively low it showed that the Irish economy was changing. The effects of the economy opening up led to a major change in the employment sectors. In 1960, 37 per cent of all Irish jobs were in the farming, fishing and forestry sector. By 1987 the numbers had drastically reduced to just 14% (O’Toole, 2003). The effect of globalisation on Ireland continued to become more and more evident. In 1990 Ireland had a trade surplus of €2372 million by 2000 this had grown to €27,980 million (O’Toole, 2003). Globalisation didn’t just affect our trade but also led to a growing number of MNC’s in Ireland. In 2002, 585 American businesses were operating in Ireland (O’Toole, 2003) and by 2009 MNC’s accounted for 9.5% of employment in the private sector (Dobbins, 2009). The high number of MNC’s operating in Ireland coupled with increased dependency on exports cannot be ignored when arguing if the national actors determine the employment relations and work policies here, as quite evidently they do.

Labour is the next actor which I am going to examine. Unquestionably globalisation has shaped Ireland’s...
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