Saturday 21 January 2017

Government must take firm stand on wages

Published 05/10/2016 | 02:30

When Brian Cowen first applied the brakes to the Irish economy few were prepared for the bone-shuddering crash that would ultimately follow.

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That was in 2007; nine Budgets later, everyone in the country has felt the pain. And just as we were set to turn the corner we slam into the humpback bridge of Brexit. With sterling falling to its lowest in 31 years, and tipped for parity with the euro by next year, the real as opposed to the theoretical threats of Brexit are now apparent.

Yesterday the International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for our economy for 2016 by 0.1pc to 4. 9pc, and by 0.4pc to 3.2pc for 2017. In the latest update of its predictably bleak World Economic Outlook, it forecast weak global growth and warned that further stagnation will fuel more populist sentiment against trade and immigration. The Department of Finance has also downgraded growth projections to allow for the risk associated with Brexit. These challenges and risks must be met head on.

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