At the National Economic Dialogue in Dublin Castle today, Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, urged the Government to show ambition at a critical juncture for the Irish economy by substantially increasing State infrastructure spend over the coming years.
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy stated: "Our economy continues to experience strong growth as we enter a period of great uncertainty. The budgetary decisions we make over the coming years will be as important as those made during the austerity years. But we enter this period of uncertainty against a positive economic backdrop. The economy is growing quickly and our young and well educated population continues to expand. The substance behind the Irish private business economy has never been stronger. Figures show that private sector employment grew by 6.7% annually in the first Quarter of 2017, FDI continues to exceed expectations and, despite significant uncertainty, business continues to export and invest at record levels.
“The Government will face many tough decisions tackling big challenges in the coming months, including the many risks to Irish competitiveness posed by Brexit and US tax reform, as well as our rapidly expanding population. The National Economic Dialogue provides a forum for robust discussion between government, business and other stakeholders as we navigate these challenges.
“Long-term planning for our economy must place a sharp focus on an increase in investment. Ibec believes that the only way to do this is to put an end to the austerity mind set and substantially increase investment in much needed infrastructure. We urge the Government to reverse its debt reduction strategy of 45% of GDP, which is well below our EU requirements of 60%. Such overly cautious debt management would result in the sacrifice of much needed investment throughout the country.
“The dual challenges of Brexit and a rapidly expanding population will require us to re-prioritise spending and be smarter about how we raise necessary funds. This includes drawing down more from the private sector and third party bodies like the European Investment Bank. Failure to invest now will leave future generations with larger infrastructure deficits to fill, in a time of higher interest rates and an ageing population. This will inevitably lead them to suffer higher rates of taxation than they otherwise would, along with poorer infrastructure and quality of life. As we have seen in other countries in recent times, social problems easily spill over into political uncertainty and polarisation.”
- Ministerial Cabinet Briefs.pdf - 2,379 Kbytes