Wednesday 22 January 2020

Recession pain to will continue for some time - Honohan

Patrick Honohan
Patrick Honohan

Colm Kelpie

The recovery is well established, but there remains a lot of pain that will continue for some time, former Central Bank Governor Professor Patrick Honohan has told an audience in Barbados.

He said that while poverty increased during the recession, inequality didn't, as the rich and poor suffered "in uniform".

Addressing a discussion at the recent Caribbean Economic Forum, Prof Honohan said the Irish economy has had "quite a good recovery", and there is a "very strong restoration of confidence".

"At the same time there's a lot of debris left behind. There's a lot of households who are over-indebted because they borrowed during the boom time to buy houses.

"If you bought at the peak and you borrowed all that money, you're still hurting. And there are a lot of people hurting.

"Poverty of course increased because living standards overall declined, even if inequality didn't worsen. The rich and the poor all suffered in uniform.

"The recovery is well established, but there's a lot of pain still, and will continue to be for some time."

Asked, with the benefit of hindsight, if he would have done anything differently, he said there were "tactical mistakes made, but there were not game-changers".

"Details," he said, without giving any further information. "But the strategic direction was correct and any time we made a little mistake we got back on top of it."

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