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Economy needs to go back to the 90s, says Noonan

WE should go back to the '90s -- for a better future.

That's according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who recently forecast that the economy would take off like a rocket if conditions improved a bit.

Yesterday he said we needed to revise our expectations downwards. He insisted that we can never return to the height of the boom times.

Speaking at a Financial Forum at NUI Galway, he said the country should be looking towards the late 1990s as a marker to where we should hope to return.

He stressed that the heights of the mid-2000s were a false economy, while people were "living within their means by and large" in the late 1990s.

"I've been through a number of recessions and economic difficulties since I first went into representative politics back in 1974 but the common factor in all of them was, the policy objective was, to get back to where you were before the recession started," he said.

"But that doesn't work on this occasion because if you go back to where you were before the crisis, we're back in the middle of a property bubble, which was a false economy anyway," he said.

Calling for a new business model for the country, he added: "If you're looking for an example of where we should be, the nearest to it is what we were doing in the late 1990s from John Bruton's government across to Bertie Ahern's first government."

He cited a competitive economy and the investment in education as key areas where we had excelled.

"If you are looking for where we should be, it's back there rather than back four years we should be looking."

The forum was also addressed by Canada's finance minister Jim Flaherty.

Mr Flaherty called on European leaders to take more decisive action to tackle the ongoing crisis.


Irish Independent