Well, being locked in the euro, austerity was probably unavoidable, but has it done any good? Not really…
Ireland was the first country that embarked on a really massive austerity program, when most of the rest of the world was doing exactly the opposite. With their very open economy, that should have made things a lot easier for them, free riding on the stimulus of others.
And now, for all these efforts, what do they have to show for it? Their debt is downgraded by S&P