Good article in The Economist recently about the Nordic countries in the current crisis. A lot of the positives in it that they've managed to sustain or implent I think would be just too much for the short term Irish political classes and electorate. For instance, this bit would be problematic in Ireland
The Nordic countries: The next supermodel | The Economist
The state is popular not because it is big but because it works. A Swede pays tax more willingly than a Californian because he gets decent schools and free health care. The Nordics have pushed far-reaching reforms past unions and business lobbies. The proof is there. You can inject market mechanisms into the welfare state to sharpen its performance. You can put entitlement programmes on sound foundations to avoid beggaring future generations. But you need to be willing to root out corruption and vested interests.