This article reviews the role of the state in Ireland's adaptation to globalisation and reflects on the changing nature of the Irish state in the context of global and EU pressures. It examines two competing literatures about conceptions of the Irish state, one which argues Ireland is a model of successful development or flexible develpomental state, and the other arguing Ireland, as a competition state, prioritises economic competitiveness over social cohesion and welfare. The article empirically examines the structural direction of policy change and shifts in power and policy processes. Both developmental and competition logics are found, these are sometimes complementary and other times opposing logics. The developmental role of the Irish state has been uneven across policy areas, being most evident in policies that enable foreign capital thrive and profit and least evident in supporting indigenous industry and social inclusion. While there have been temporal shifts in developmental and competition logics, examination of recent policy responses to recession and economic crisis suggests the primary logic informing Irish development is the competition logic.