Editorial: Tough decisions remain despite positive outlook
IT was impossible to escape positive economic news yesterday. The Central Bank raised its forecast for economic growth to 2.5pc this year as part of an upbeat assessment of the economy that harked back to the Celtic Tiger days. Finance Minister Michael Noonan reiterated that his Budget will be mild and spoke of repaying debts to the International Monetary Fund early to save money. Ryanair posted bumper profits and promised a special dividend to shareholders.
Elsewhere, retail sales for the first six months of the year showed solid growth thanks to car and furniture sales while visits from abroad continue to increase as economies in the UK and US expand at a fair clip. A sign of this economic confidence could be found in a report by rating agency Standard & Poor's which concluded that house prices in Ireland grew faster than in any other country it examined in Europe last year.
Ireland is in a sweet spot right now. Years of austerity here and in our biggest markets such as Britain are beginning to pay off. As a small trading nation, we are well poised to benefit as the global economy picks up steam.