Wednesday 21 March 2018

'False' 26pc figure damaging our global reputation - Martin

Micheál Martin. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Micheál Martin. Photo: Gerry Mooney
John Downing

John Downing

Revelations that the Irish economy grew by an astonishing 26pc are "false" and damaging Ireland's international reputation.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin put forward the argument in the Dáil when he challenged the Government to get the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to find a new way of measuring economic growth.

Click here to view full-size graphic
Click here to view full-size graphic

"Will you as Taoiseach ask the CSO to design a model to capture what is really happening in the Irish economy?" Mr Martin asked the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Kenny said the 2015 economic growth figures, released on Tuesday by the CSO, were "unprecedented" and based on the relocation of major companies to Ireland.

These included a major aircraft leasing firm and the Taoiseach also acknowledged the relocations did not necessarily lead to a major growth in job creation. He said the Finance Department's figure for economic growth last year was in the region of 3.5pc to 4pc and the department would base its policy on "a more normal growth rate".

"These are figures compiled accurately by the CSO and are taking into account changes in the international economy," Mr Kenny said in relation to the 26pc finding.

Mr Martin countered that the issue was not just a temporary phenomenon. He said it was shocking the Finance and the Taoiseach's Department had years ago not created a proper model to measure growth.

"These figures are not just unprecedented - they are false figures," Mr Martin said. The Fianna Fáil leader said many in international business were looking at the Irish statistics "with ridicule and disbelief". He said Ireland had been among those questioning past Chinese growth rates.

Mr Kenny said the real growth in the Irish economy can be measured in growing consumer spending and job-creation.

Irish Independent

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