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Tuesday 12 December 2017

First-year economics and 'dictatorial' leadership key to Celtic Tiger boom

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

FEW would be rushing to put their hands up to claim to be the 'architects' of the Celtic Tiger now.

Yet, a cable sent by the US ambassador in 2004 to Dublin reveals the extent of the international interest in the 'secrets' behind Ireland's greatest boom.

The dinner meetings orchestrated with then US Treasury Secretary John W Snow to divulge secrets of the boom reads like a 'who's who' of the business world at the height of their powers.

At a dinner hosted by the then US ambassador James C Kenny, the invitees included former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy and the chairman of Forfas, Eoin O'Driscoll. Those attending an Ulster Bank Lunch included former EU Commissioner Ray MacSharry; Lochlann Quinn, co-founder of Glen Dimplex; Willie Walsh, then chief executive of Aer Lingus; and Cormac McCarthy, then chief executive of Ulster Bank.

Yet, the 'secrets' passed over to Mr Snow had been quite simple, according to the cable.

So much so that the document reported Padraig O hUiginn, former secretary general in the Office of the Taoiseach, as stating the reforms were based on ideas apparent to any first-year economics student.

Ireland's skill in securing substantial EU support funds, exploiting US policy on corporate tax deferral and investment in education were all highlighted as key.

Implementation of the reforms had required "dictatorial" leadership, according to Mr McCreevy at the ambassador's dinner in November 2004.

Irish Independent

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