Category: Economic Development

Ireland 2009: post budget analysis

Only one word matters in rescuing Ireland from its downward spiral: competitiveness. This was the focus of Government policy in the 90s. It created the environment for investment, jobs and spectacular growth. It made Ireland the 4th most competitive country in the world by 2000… and one of the most prosperous.

But then the plot was lost and many government decisions carelessly ignored competitiveness.  Numbers employed in the public sector grew at the fastest rate in Europe:  85,600 were added to the payroll in the past decade[1].  The number of state organisations grew to over 700.  Labour laws were enacted … Continue reading...

Making Ireland Competitive Again

Making Ireland Competitive Again

The economic crisis of 2008 is now drifting towards becoming a national calamity of unprecedented proportions with the prospect of bringing Ireland to its knees again. Unless a survival plan is produced during the coming weeks lack of confidence in government could reach a point where the country slides into the kind of irretrievable economic crises that has waylaid Argentina.


The tsunami-like economic events and the international deterioration of Ireland’s standing and reputation is driven by two separate issues: one economic, the other political. 


The economic dilemma is stark.  The cost of running the Continue reading...

Reform and National Recovery

Addressing the unprecedented crises in which Ireland finds itself calls for swift and radical action. The Government must focus on the two most crucial issues

  • cut public expenditure
  • improve international competitiveness

Annual public expenditure has more than doubled since 2001 to €57 billion and the number of employed by the State has grown similarly to a total of 373,000 people.  Public servants are generally paid more than in competitor countries.  For example teachers are paid 28% more than in Germany and 37% more than in the UK.  Ambulance drivers in Ireland are paid as much as junior consultants in Finland.… Continue reading...

Ireland’s Competitiveness

Making Ireland Competitive Again

Brian Cowan assumes national leadership at an unenviable time: unemployment and consumer confidence are heading for heights and depths not seen since the bad old days.  Ireland’s competitive position has been on a downward trajectory for some years and this is likely to make matters worse as the months of 2008 tick by. Shrinking exchequer revenues, aggravated by increasing social welfare costs threaten to move the budget into serious deficit.  Prompt and stern action will be called for when Brian Cowan assumes office if the ship of state is to be put back on course and Continue reading...

Ireland: Key Issues: 2007



Overdependence on FDI

·90% of exports produced by foreign companies

·Strong competition for FDI emerging….new EU states, China, India



·Labour intensive activities closing and moving to lower-cost countries.

·Low level of research activity



·No export growth in 15 years

·Low productivity

·Low research and innovation capacity

·Low international marketing capacity



·Poor transportation infrastructure

·Regional intercity roads not planned to Motorway standard

·Urban underground rail

Communications Infrastructure

·Roll-out of regional/rural broadband

·Communications costs

·Energy supply/costs

Planning Continue reading...

Irish business: restoring its image

Lew Glucksman, former Chairman of Lehman Brothers and one of the towering figures of international business, who died recently in Ireland, spoke of the merits of a healthy tension between government and business that results in an effective legal and regulatory framework.  Too much regulation stifles enterprise, too little fosters friction, scandal and corruption.  Ireland could strengthen its international competitive position and the environment for enterprise by replacing outdated and redundant accretions of regulation and legislation within revised structures based on international best practice. A robust but simple framework that supports good business practice, while regulating unfair competition and penalising … Continue reading...

Waterford University

University vital for Southeast

The 900 job losses announced in a single week by four different multinationals highlight the significant change taking place in the Irish economy.  High costs and the maze of employment regulation in Ireland are stimulating multinationals to move jobs to more attractive locations.  Labour intensive jobs are most at risk.

The development agencies have been doing a remarkable job in generating replacement jobs.  But attracting manufacturing activities to Ireland is becoming increasingly difficult and now most of the new jobs are in the knowledge-intensive sectors that tend to gravitate towards regions with urban areas of scale Continue reading...

Ireland’s Fragile Economic Success

Ireland’s indigenous exports have grown negligibly over the past decade.  In contrast industrial exports of US firms in Ireland have boomed and now represent some 80 percent of the total. Were US firms to drift abroad during the coming years Ireland would rejoin the ranks of Europe’s most impoverished nations. Ireland is deeply indebted to the creative and entrepreneurial skills derived from the US and consequently much dependent on the potential vagaries of US corporate and government policy.

Ireland and Finland are frequently mentioned in the same breath as European success stories. Yet there is a significant difference. Finland’s growth … Continue reading...

The Future of Ireland

The Last Lecture Series


2 February 2005           




Science, Technology and the Future of Ireland



Edward M Walsh




In a lifetime Ireland has transformed itself from being one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the most affluent.


Ireland’s politicians and public servants can take credit for devising, even if with considerable good luck, a strategy that has attracted the world’s most sophisticated corporations and with them the most advanced technologies and scientific know-how the human mind has conceived.  In turn we have demonstrated an ability to … Continue reading...

My Favourite Share

Article prepared by Edward M Walsh at the request of Senator Shane Ross for MY FAVOURITE SHARE.  Sunday Independent. 

I was at school in 1955 when I bought my first shares: 100 Lobitos Oil at 3/6. The stock market and its ups and downs was an integral part of family life. Silence fell around the table each lunch-time during the mid-day stock market report on Radio Eireann: we children knew that making noise for these few minutes could rile a normally tolerant and gentle father.  At night I fell asleep to the sounds seeping from our parent’s room of the … Continue reading...