CEO Update: Budget 2024 and Social Cohesion

June 12, 2023

Today Ibec will be taking part in the National Economic Forum the principle institutional forum for public consultation on Budget 2024, hosted by the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Ibec’s position is that a significant part of the rising budget surpluses should be used to capitalise a new National Infrastructure Fund to help address the major social, economic and environmental infrastructure needs which Ireland has committed to meeting over the next decade. A failure to meet the pressing investment needs of the Irish economy would represent a greater risk to future economic development and social cohesion than any potential future ‘rainy day’.

This policy position is informed by our extensive engagement with CEOs across the country in recent weeks. While business sentiment remains very buoyant, there is a clear consensus from the business community that the failure of domestic supply capacity and infrastructure to keep up with economic growth is leading to significant congestion and constraints such as access to physical assets like housing and to the ability of households to access services which are core to the dignity which should be afforded in a rich society. This congestion is now a material threat to both economic advancement, generational solidarity and social cohesion. You can read more about my remarks here.

The important role that social cohesion and a robust democracy play in fostering a strong economy will be discussed at our upcoming In Conversation event with women representatives from the largest political parties. We are delighted to be joined by Holly Cairns TD, Leader of the Social Democrats, Senator Lisa Chambers, Leader of the Seanad, Claire Kerrane TD, Sinn Fein Agriculture spokesperson, Senator Annie Hoey, Labour spokesperson Further and Higher Education, Innovation, Research and Science, Maria Walsh Fine Gael MEP for the Midlands–North-West constituency and Hazel Chu, former Lord Mayor and Green Party Councillor. The event will take place in our Dublin offices on Thursday the 22nd of June at 1 pm. Registration will open at 12.30 pm. You can RSVP to attend here.

An organisation which is at the forefront of advocating for the important contribution business must make not only to shareholders but to stakeholders is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who in recent years have worked to promote ‘stakeholder capitalism’ as a new model of corporate governance. On the 27th of June, Suzanne Clark, President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, the largest business federation in the world, will join us for a Ibec In Conversation event at our Dublin office. It will be an opportunity to hear about her informed and unique perspective on the evolving landscape for enterprise in the US, the international business agenda and EU-US trade and investment issues. The event will run from 09.00 am to 10.00 am and you can register here.

The critical role that social dialogue plays underpinning prosperity on the Island of Ireland was the theme of the 8th Annual Sir George Quigley Memorial Lecture which I delivered on Friday in Belfast. These Memorial Lectures are hosted by the Centre for Cross Border Studies and are held in honour of Sir George Quigley, whose vision for cross-border cooperation resonates strongly with their work. I was pleased to use the forum to discuss Ibec’s ‘For Peace and Prosperity’ campaign which highlights how the stability brought about by the Agreement has enhanced the economies of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the all-island embedding stability and economic success in a new totality of relationships. You can learn more about our campaign here.

As always if you have any feedback or queries, please let me know.

Best regards,

Danny McCoy