Economy put in the spotlight
DUNDALK students joined local business leaders and politicians at the EU Commission seminar held in DkIT last week.
At the public seminar, a panel of expert economic speakers discussed the current economic situation in Ireland and the forthcoming exit from the troika bailout programme.
Students, lecturers, local business leaders and public representatives were among the audience for the event, entitled European Economic Policy – What's in it for Ireland?
The seminar was the eighth in a series of events around Ireland, organised by the European Commission, to explain the current economic situation in the EU and to provide an opportunity for people to ask questions about its implications for Ireland.
Regarding Ireland's forthcoming exit from the EU-IMF bailout programme, Dr. Donal Donovan, former Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said that Ireland will need to work closely with the EU following its exit from the bailout, especially in the context of the European Semester.
With this in mind, he stressed the need for Ireland to avoid the 'us and them' mentality that often creeps into discussions about the EU.
He said that, in order to be seen as truly part of the debate on the future of Europe, we need to look beyond the short-term benefits and towards longer-term gains: 'To be effective in Europe we have to engage and talk about what is good for the euro area. What is good for Ireland should not exclusively be our agenda'.
In his presentation, Brendan Keenan, former Economics Editor of the Irish Independent stressed that the focus must now be on the future of the Irish economy.
Referring to the December 15 bailout programme exit, he predicted that 'what happens in the Irish economy in the next three to four years depends on what happens in the next twelve months' and highlighted education, training, language skills and infrastructure as key to the success of future Irish economic growth.
Graham Stull, Economic Analyst with the European Commission, gave the audience an insight into the causes of the economic crisis.
Following the panel presentations, a lively question and answer session with the Dundalk IT audience focused on economic development in Dundalk and the North East, the importance of Europe looking at periphery regions in Ireland and elsewhere, and the prospects facing this country post the bailout.
The seminar was chaired by Jonathan Claridge, Head of Political Section of the European Commission Representation in Ireland.