Ronan Lyons | Personal Website
Ronan Lyons | Personal Website

Irish Economy

Eleven reasons to be cheerful

This post outlines 11 reasons to be cheerful about Ireland. The country is not bust, some key sectors – including agriculture and our exporters had a very good 2010, and our tourism sector has got two big thumbs-up for the year ahead. Indeed our service exports are booming, not least thanks to vastly improved cost competitiveness. The IDA continues to find jobs for Ireland, while our spirit of enterprise means we have emerging players in ICT, life sciences and education to be proud of. Read more

Dude, where’s my six billion? Perspective on Budget 2011

This post examines Budget 2011. It goes behind the predictable public anger about “poor paying for the mistakes of the rich” to see what the Budget actually brought in. About one third of the €6bn in savings comes from important income tax reform, but another third comes from one-off windfalls that cannot be replicated. The final third comes from savings in public expenditure, but this is below expectations, more than likely due to the restrictions of the Croke Park Deal. While I am more optimistic now than before about reaching 2015 targets, it is in the area of current expenditure that the toughest work lies ahead. Read more

Ireland’s Economic Crisis: What sort of hole are we in and how do we get out?

This post outlines how Ireland got into its economic mess, how deep the hole is and what the country must do to get out of the hole. Understanding what mistakes were made is a key part of the problem: this post outlines five, four of which date from entry into the eurozone. The fifth, the blanket guarantee in 2008, has given us a €60bn problem but we should not forget that it’s only half the size of the deficit problem. The post then outlines three questions voters should ask politicians who knock on their door over the coming weeks. Read more

And it’s hard to craft a Budget when you’re watched by Olli Rehn: Open Letter to soon-to-be European overlords

This blog post takes the form of an open letter to Commissioner Olli Rehn, who has twice in successive months pronounced that Ireland must give up its status as a “low tax economy”. The letter goes through the government’s revenues, heading by heading, and argues Ireland already is a normal tax country. Indeed, with corporate tax revenues almost twice as large in Ireland as in Germany, the mooted doubling of Ireland’s corporate tax rate is one of the last “solutions” the country needs. Read more

Where should Ireland cut its public spending? Thoughts for Budget 2011 (II)

Two weeks ago, measures were proposed that would raise €6bn in new taxation by 2015. This post follows up by examining Ireland’s public spending. Like two weeks ago, it points out those areas where Ireland sticks out in international comparisons. It focuses on five areas of public expenditure – in particular capital investment and health-care – which if trimmed back to EU averages would save close to €10bn by 2015. Read more

Overcoming our shyness, or how education could be a €4bn export business

Last week, the Government announced its strategy for Education as an Export. This post reviews that strategy and finds its key objectives sadly unspecific. It looks at the data that exists and finds that Ireland needs to break into non-Anglo-Saxon markets – particularly the Middle East. More ambitious targets could bring a significant boost to the economy, including 8,500 new jobs across a range of sectors and using 6 million square metres of currently vacant commercial property. Read more

Could the Croke Park deal come back to haunt the Government?

This post examines whether the Government’s pledge to reduce the deficit to 4% of GDP by 2014 is consistent with its promise not to cut its workers’ rates of pay. The chief concern is that, with tax receipts unlikely to grow by more than 10% over the coming five years, an adjustment in expenditure of €10bn – needed to meet EU (and thus market) expectations – will have to come from non-pay expenditure. No matter which way the numbers are cut, with public sector pay off limits, this is a tall order. Read more

100 ways to spend the Anglo €25,000,000,000

This joint post with Brian Lucey examines one hundred different ways of spending the €25bn that the European Commission approved last week for the Irish government to spend on recapitalising Anglo-Irish Bank. They range from the very practical (fight malaria) to the very amibitious (space elevators) to the very ridiculous (detach Cork). All of them give a good idea of just what a huge number €25,000,000,000 is! Read more