The Great Recession has had a far-reaching and profound impact on Irish political life. In the Republic of Ireland, there have been greater shifts at the ballot box since the crisis began than over the previous five decades, and a combative movement against water charges has threatened the state’s image as the poster child for Euro-austerity. Meanwhile, the postwar settlement in Northern Ireland faces its most severe challenge yet, as drastic cuts in public spending imposed by Britain’s Conservative government put the local power-sharing administration under intense strain. This essay will address the main developments in Irish politics, north and south, since the recession began, and identify some of the key factors that will determine the future of political struggle on the island.

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