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Dan White: We turned a corner alright... but it led us to a dead end

The announcement from the CSO that the Irish economy shrank by a further 1.2pc in the second quarter of this year has brutally crushed the fantasy that the recession is over.

Remember last December's budget? Brian Lenihan concluded a bravura performance with the assurance that we had "turned the corner". While it mightn't be case of happy days were here again, we were definitely led to believe that the worst was behind us.

Oh no it wasn't. While the economy apparently grew in the first three months of 2010, those of us who reckoned that this was a one-off rather than the start of a genuine recovery had our worst fears confirmed when the CSO announced that the economy shrank once again in the second quarter.

The only surprise is that anyone is surprised by the CSO's announcement. Look around you. With the exception of the artificially stimulated motor trade, where sales have been temporarily boosted by the scrappage scheme, retail sales have started shrinking again.

Unemployment, which briefly seemed to have plateaued around mid-year, is rising once again as the second phase of the recession kicks in while my banker friends -- yes, I still have a few -- whisper to me that even firms they previously reckoned were rock solid are now coming to them with serious problems.

Yes, we have turned the corner alright. Straight into a cul de sac!