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Despite relentless tumult we can still be enterprising

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Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy

The record number of jobs created by clients of Enterprise Ireland (EI) is a textbook example of how rocky roads can lead to new peaks.

A total of 207,894 people now work for companies that are assisted by EI, which is a remarkable achievement after the economic turmoil we have witnessed.

Most pleasing of all was the fact so many of the jobs were located outside of the capital.

Governments across the world have been intervening in unprecedented ways to shore up employment. Enormous state commitments comprising percentage points of national output were required to keep economies from seizing up.

Tánaiste and Enterprise Minister Leo Varadkar acknowledged exporting companies are producing a lot of the revenues that are being used to help companies and workers who are in difficulty as a result of the pandemic.

There will be opportunities for extricating the State from such outlays but, as recognised by Mr Varadkar, they are necessary to blunt the edge of restrictions for the moment.

And with Covid-19 hospitalisations growing at about 7pc per day, we cannot drop our guard.

The success of Enterprise Ireland is a reminder that a recovery phase is within reach. Even if we are not sure precisely when it will be completed, we can begin preparing for it.

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“Enterprise Ireland has been working with businesses throughout the country to ensure they can quickly recover from the impact of Covid-19 and continue to adapt to the new trading relationship with the UK,” said its chief executive Leo Clancy.

Yet, globally, governments are beginning to put the brakes on stimulus plans. Higher inflation and interest rate rises are once again bearing down on economies.

We have bumped our noses in blind alleys once too often, following bogus signs indicating we are “turning the corner”.

Yet significant progress is being made, and it ought to be recognised.

Yes, we have a way to go yet. And there are sound reasons why they say the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement,

The number of Covid-19 cases is still daunting, and taking a gruelling toll on our overburdened health system.

But as Mr Varadkar also said: “No matter what measure you use in terms of the impact on deaths and illness, there are very few countries in Europe that have performed better than Ireland.”

In terms of edging our way back to normality and enjoying life together, the Tánaiste added there are “grounds for cautious optimism” in the medium term.

In his book A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson wrote: “As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better.”

And so we can cautiously tiptoe towards spring with firmer expectations of a restoration of freedoms towards summer.


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