CT seems safe – and don’t forget the North and GB

Nerves will be stretched until the exact terms of the deal are known. Meanwhile government spin continues to minimise the extent of the damage. The bond markets at least seem satisfied for the moment but what about the Irish people, still much in the dark?. A huge sigh of relief will go up at the one bit of good news for Ireland. At least for the first year, the EU terms will be no worse than the Croke Park agreement. And…

A Government source said that its main achievement in the negotiations was protecting the 12.5 per cent corporation tax which will not form part of the bailout deal.

If confirmed, this as I’ve said is good news for the north which only now has started to creep into the story as a sort of British footnote – apart from this timely reflection from Drumlin’s Rock. The British embassy has been busy with briefings like this oddly headlined piece from the BBC’s Mark Simpson ( the “thaw” began at least 25 years ago). The theme that interdependence is wider and warmer than membership of any currency zone  is taken up by Ann Marie Hourihane as a part- antidote to fury at  Biffo and the gang.

In 2009 every man woman and child in the Irish Republic spent £3,607 on British imports, one of the highest per capita spends on British goods in the world. In 2009, we bought £2.4 billion worth of food and drink from Britain, making us the biggest importer of British food and drink in the world

Britain – or more specifically, England, is where our girls look to for their heroines and for their hairstyles. England is where our boys dream of playing soccer. Dublin was always a unionist town and in many ways it still is.

Let us have no more wittering on about sovereignty. Loose talk costs lives – it has certainly cost us an economy.

Amen to that. Meanwhile US economic envoy Declan Kelly thinks this is a good time to beat the northern drum in the Bel Tel. Is this whistling in the wind? I don’t want to gripe but what exactly was the beef from the NI-US Economic Conference?  The competitive devaluation of the dollar is designed to suck FDI into the States rather than export more US capital abroad. Nevertheless the bold Declan seems optimistic about that special enterprise zone.

Over 6,000 people start a new business each year in Northern Ireland. This is an incredible number on a per capita basis.

There are nearly 126,000 small and medium sized enterprises in the region and these companies are the backbone of the local economy, employing over 63% of the private sector workforce.

I have stated on many occasions that I believe Northern Ireland can become one of the world’s fastest growing economies on a per capita basis over the next five years. In order to accomplish this, the region must continue its focus on attracting high quality foreign direct investment. Only through a combination of inward investment and indigenous growth will the region achieve lasting economic prosperity.

At least they should get on  and agree the budget!

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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