The worst is far from being over
WHEN Brian Lenihan, the Minister for Finance, delivered his Budget in December he announced that "the worst is over" and that the economy was beginning to turn the corner towards recovery. His confidence was startling at the time, but it was based on the apparent fact that the economy had edged clear of recession in the third quarter of the year (July to September). But Lenihan's single swallow did not make a summer.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that his confidence was severely misplaced -- that third-quarter number has been revised downwards and, even worse, the final three months of the year showed a further slump.
As he spoke, the economy was diving, not climbing and there is little hope that the first three months of 2010 will have brought respite. Major economies around the world have started to recover, some strongly, but Ireland remains mired in a recession so deep it is, in reality, a depression.