Mr Howlin, tell the public service unions that good work should be a given, not a cause for pay claims
I recently visited an Irish-owned company that makes high spec products for indigenous and overseas food producers. The company employs 200 in what would otherwise be a rural unemployment blackspot. Turnover is €170m. My visit's purpose was to explore how a systematic approach to innovation could drive a doubling of this figure.
This is a terrific Irish success story and a credit to the people who founded and built up the business. Their achievement is all the greater because, with Ireland's cost structures, it is especially challenging for labour-intensive manufacturing companies to outperform fierce global competition.
So, what is their secret? At the core is a relentless pursuit of productivity gains through continuous process improvement and innovation.