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February 28, 2013

In Ireland, the promise and problems of Europe’s recovery

Graham Donnelly’s carefully reconstructed life has become like Ireland itself, a story of prosperity found then lost, of a crash and burn and a successful struggle to get back on his feet. But he is also a symbol of the tough road ahead for Europe.

When Ireland flourished in the 2000s, so did Donnelly, landing a well-paying job in pharmaceutical research that covered a life of expensive dinners and overseas travel. That ended in 2009 as the debt-fueled economy here crumbled and Donnelly was laid off. He spent the next three years making ends meet with short-term work and unemployment checks — until November, when the 38-year-old finally landed a new job at the Irish operations of Pfizer, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant.

For optimists, Donnelly’s rebound is a sign of long-awaited better times in Ireland and across Europe. Yet dig deeper, and nothing in Europe — including the spring in the step of Ireland’s economy — is as good as it seems.

What is emerging instead for the Irish and millions of other Europeans is a recognition that the toll left by four years of debt crisis has been far worse and the recovery more fragile than what Americans have endured since 2008 because of the U.S. financial crisis.”


Read full Washington Post article here

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