Lee launches new offensive on economic front
Published 18/04/2010 | 05:00
GEORGE LEE, the former Fine Gael TD who sensationally quit politics in February to return to RTE, is to make his first public appearance this week when he will call for corporation tax to be lowered to 10 per cent to attract more inward investment.
In a public lecture at the University of Limerick (UL) on Tuesday, Mr Lee will also call for new tax breaks to revitalise the construction industry as well as investment of the pension fund in the Irish economy rather than abroad.
"We need new thinking and a new approach to the economic instruments available to us. We cannot wait for this to get better itself, we need to reinvent ourselves," Mr Lee will say.
If he does not seek an extension to his leave of absence, Mr Lee, the former RTE economics editor, will return to the airwaves next month. It is unlikely that he will return to his former position, although RTE management is understood to be keen to use Mr Lee's economic expertise and celebrity status.
His decision to effectively outline at a public lecture this week what he considers the best "road map" to economic policy indicates that Mr Lee is unlikely to return to a news reporting role.
According to UL, Mr Lee will say he believes that the Government is too compliant in its relationship with the EU and it needs to challenge some of the regulations it imposes on our economy.
He will state: "The EU wants us to reduce our deficit faster than we should -- we do not always have to play by the rules and this is another economic instrument open to us."
The university also said Mr Lee believes that we must restore trust in our political and business systems if we are to restore our credibility on the international markets.
"If we don't take decisive action now, our children and grandchildren will be paying for this," he will say.
Mr Lee will be the final speaker in UL's 'Investigating Current Issues in Irish Journalism' seminar series. The theme of his lecture is 'Ireland's Economic Collapse: Where to Now?'.
University of Limerick senior lecturer in journalism, Mary Dundon, said: "We are delighted that Mr Lee has chosen the University of Limerick as the venue for his first public lecture -- this is an exciting opportunity for the students, staff and public."
Mr Lee addressed a congregation in the Catholic church at Borrisokane, Co Tipperary, shortly after he resigned as a TD, during which he said Ireland needed hope and trust. He had agreed to the talk while still a TD.