I visited Dublin on January 12 and I could feel the despair of the people as soon as I left the airport. It is now two years since the economic calamity hit Ireland. The despair is palpable and there is no confidence to be found anywhere. So what happens now?
I propose a somewhat different approach to begin the process of rebuilding our economy. It is not a quick solution but it follows the philosophy of our Asian friends, a step-by-step approach, looking forward many years.
The Government will be required to create the policies that support this thinking. Two years ago, as our destiny slipped away from us, I thought the Finance Minister should seek out a group of eminent people, made up of academics, scientists and business people, including the existing agencies focused on the economy, with the purpose to create long-term plan for rebuilding the economy.
Today, the recriminations continue; the Government's attempt to lead the country through this debacle has not been successful.
Until the global economy shows consistent signs of recovery, our's will be unable to trade itself out of trouble. This does not mean we shouldn't plan for the future or make investments in advance of a recovery.
We now have a plethora of skilled unemployed people. We need to harness these assets and deploy them strategically for the future. Supported by the banking system, private capital and government, we can create a new Ireland.
This is the strategic imperative that has been missing during the last 24 months.