Brendan Keenan: Foundations to rebuild economy remain in place
Your Country, Your Call Brendan Keenan on why we need answers and not endless questions
Published 22/02/2010 | 05:00
AT the height of the George Lee affair, I wrote that people may have mistaken analysis for answers. One thing we can be sure of is that they are desperate to hear some plausible answers as to how we can escape the current economic crisis.
One of the most palpable reactions has been a sense of loss. After decades -- even centuries -- of struggle, the country seemed to have achieved what had so long eluded it: employment and generous living standards for the vast majority of citizens. The speed with which the crash appeared to sweep all this away has been shocking. The period of hope and achievement seems pitifully short -- no more than 15 years at best. It would be easy to believe that it was just an aberration in the long, painful economic history of Ireland.
That may well be what most people do believe, but they are wrong. It is far from the case that everything has disappeared under the global recessionary tide. It is true that our problems are more severe than those of most countries. And there are two reasons for this: the size of the construction boom, and the scale of bank lending to finance that boom. In other respects, the Irish economy is not that different from others.