Tuesday 21 November 2017

Marc Coleman: How to recognise an Irish recovery when it arrives

Optimistic predictions for the economy will only harm our chances of actually 'turning a corner'

Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

All of us have heard about the boy who cried wolf. But have you heard about the boy who cried "recovery"?

In the late Nineties and Noughties predictions titillated our interest and sold books and newspapers. But the warnings were issued too early and were based on hype and sensationalism rather than facts and figures. For years no wolf came and by the time we finally needed to hear it, it had lost its power to make us listen.

Now we face the reverse risk. Ireland's potential to recover has always been stressed by this column. We cannot only recover but also reach new heights of prosperity. But can is not the same as will. With the phrases "we are turning the corner" and "the worst is over" increasingly on the lips of pundits and politicians, we need to be sure the evidence is there to back it up. In economics, confidence in the future is crucial to recovery. But if, like the boy who cried wolf, the message of recovery is debased by spin it could dent public confidence in a recovery when it finally does come.

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