The 2005 Human Development Report recently found Ireland to be the second wealthiest country in the world (UN Development Programme). However, the same report also highlighted that Ireland was one of the countries with the greatest social inequality and with the third highest level of poverty out of the eighteen countries surveyed. The Celtic Tiger period may also be characterised in terms of the widening gap between rich and poor (Nolan, et al. 2000; UNDP 2005). Even ‘social partnership’, Ireland’s corporatist national planning arrangements, including triennial national pay agreements, is criticized for concentrating political power in the hands of small elites and organised interests (Ó Cinnéide 1998; Kirby 2002).