Peter Sutherland, the Irish chairman of BP and Goldman Sachs International, accentuates the positive in the Financial Times. He highlights some issues we’ve mentioned here previously, such as Ireland’s flexible labour market that is in the process of boosting Ireland’s international competitiveness, and the improvements in Ireland’s balance of trade.
While I do not want to trivialise the difficulties that Ireland faces, its problems are acute in nature rather than chronic. Once Ireland overcomes this short-term panic and I believe that last weeks budget, whatever its alleged deficiencies, was a vital step in this process the basic strengths of the Irish economy remain formidable. If the Irish people continue to react constructively to the harsh measures necessary, Ireland will be in a very strong position to benefit from the eventual global recovery and its healthy demographic profile will greatly help in this.
I agree, once we solve the problems associated with the destructive whirlwind that was the great Irish property bubble, we can back on track rebuilding a strong economy that provides productive employment for the vast bulk of our citizens. When we do, let’s hope the lessons of the past our learnt and we never allow ourselves to be convinced that debt = wealth again.