DUP’s windfall can kickstart power-sharing in Northern Ireland

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By Cormac Lucey There has been plenty of negative reaction to the outcome of Britain’s general election, caused in no small part by the political fiasco of Theresa May’s campaign and the shambolic result it delivered. Lusting for political domination, the prime minister transformed a tight, but workable, parliamentary majority into a minority position where the Conservatives will have to … Read More

The recovery is taking hold so let’s not blow it on spending

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By Cormac Lucey There have been several warnings in recent weeks that the government’s fiscal policy is too loose and in danger of overstimulating the economy. The European Union council on May 22 concluded that Ireland was experiencing “macroeconomic imbalances”. The large level of public and private debt “makes Ireland vulnerable to adverse shocks”, according to the council, which believes … Read More

Varadkar played politics when he could have been reforming welfare and supporting work

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By Cormac Lucey Leo Varadkar’s rhetoric is most pleasing. He wants Fine Gael to be a party for people who get up early in the morning. As his policy ideas paper expanded further: “Fine Gael is the party for people who are ambitious for Ireland, for their family and community and for themselves personally.” These calls led to a predictable … Read More

Good times are back, but Ireland faces twin boom-bust risks

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By Cormac Lucey Last week’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) statement on the Irish economy was not surprising. Yet it still offers a very useful overview of the economic challenges facing the country. The good news is that, according to the Washington DC-based boffins: “Growth is robust and broad-based, and unemployment is at levels not seen in almost a decade.” It … Read More

Brexit will give Ireland a slow input of financial services not a bonanza

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By Cormac Lucey With the features of the UK’s post-Brexit arrangements with the EU likely to be unclear until the end of 2018, many British-based businesses are seeking to relocate to — or establish a physical bridgehead in — one of the remaining 27 member states. Even before last June’s vote by the British electorate, IDA Ireland was targeting banks, … Read More

Can Macron make the French connection strong enough to sway Germany?

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By Cormac Lucey At the end of the 1972 movie The Candidate, Robert Redford’s character, Bill McKay, a young and attractive outsider who has won an improbable election victory, turns around to his campaign manager and asks: “What do we do now?” The newly elected president of France, the 39-year-old former banker Emmanuel Macron, must have similar feelings. Macron may … Read More

That puzzling Public Service Pay Commission report

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By Cormac Lucey I’m puzzled by the report issued last week by the Public Service Pay Commission. It concluded that the gap between public and private sector pay has narrowed but public sector pensions are 12%-18% more valuable than those in the private sector. The implication is that public servants should make higher contributions towards these generous entitlements, of 15% … Read More

The Hibernia Forum co-launch new edition of European Nanny State Index

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Once again, Ireland featured very high on this thorough index of the growing Nanny State culture in various EU and non EU states, now at an extraordinary 3rd place. The detailed index, launched in Brussels on 10 May, was compiled by Epicenter EU, in conjunction with the IEA London. Below are pictures of panel discussion, including contributions from our director … Read More

Never mind China, its in Europe, via Germany, that the real currency distortion occurs

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By Cormac Lucey A country’s trade position with the rest of the world can reveal a lot about its essential economic nature and its immediate economic condition. This is because there is a certain financial consequence of a country’s trade position. If it is running a deficit, its debts abroad must necessarily grow as a result. Conversely, if a country … Read More