In the previous chapter, the view of many commentators that the Irish economy met and at times easily exceeded Tiger performance benchmarks was upheld, notwithstanding of course the relatively high levels of sustained poverty. The purpose of this chapter is to try to establish how the economy came to be transformed so unexpectedly given the unlikely socio-economic backdrop depicted earlier in chapter two. To achieve this objective the debates on Irish economic development are divided into two categories where it then becomes possible to undertake a comparative analysis on the merits of the various arguments presented throughout these debates. Category One debates include explanations of poor development for the period 1922-1993, while Category Two presents hindsight explanations for the underlying cause(s) of strong development including attempts to explain the Celtic Tiger phase of development.