This paper examines the influence of the Troika on the retrenchment and reform of social security in Ireland during its bailout between 2010 and 2013. To do this, it draws on data from in-depth interviews with senior civil servants and civil society organisation staff who met with the Troika as part of their quarterly missions to Ireland during this period. The key themes which emerged from these interviews include the largely domestic origins of social security retrenchment and reform; the surprising, and distinctive, positions adopted by the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF); the extent of the Irish government's room for manoeuvre in this area, and the ways in which the Irish government defended social security against proposals for additional cuts put forward by the Troika. The paper concludes by arguing that the scope for domestic decision-making was heavily constrained, yet non-trivial, and that the Troika's influence comprised not only ‘powering’ but also ‘persuasion’.
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