Ireland

A Delicate Recovery

English: Lucinda Creighton, TD

English: Lucinda Creighton, TD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 40 years Ireland has been within the European Union has been a whirlwind of positives and negatives. Most recently, Ireland’s Lucinda Creighton took over presidency of the European Council and will chair for six months.

This opportunity allows the nation to promote Ireland as an attractive destination for tourism, for investment, for business. Ireland’s business and economic potential is placing plenty of stress on Creighton.

“Ireland will be tasked with progressing concrete steps to help us stabilise our currency, the euro, and to inject growth into the Irish and the European economy. This is no mean task, but it is one to relish,” Creighton said in a press release.

Earlier in December, Irish budget was agreed under the terms of the €85bn bailout that Ireland had signed up for in 2012.

Those measures included: €1bn in tax rises, €500m cuts to capital expenditure, €1.7bn cuts to departmental budgets and a property tax.

Ireland’s budget deficit for 2012 would be 8.2 percent, as before and within the target of 8.6 percent. For 2013 the deficit would be 7.5 percent, in 2014 it would be 5.1 percent.

“European leaders have talked a lot about the measures needed to grow our economy, and create jobs, but the implementation has been too slow,” Creighton said in the press release. “There are high expectations among our partners that Ireland will move this agenda forward, fast.”

A limited recovery is underway, but with austerity measures still hitting ordinary people hard, Dublin is clear about its priorities.

Ireland – with one of the world’s most open economies – is reliant on growth in international demand to sustain an export-led recovery. The challenge for the Government has been to try to facilitate economic growth while at the same time reducing the budget deficit, stabilising and lowering the debt. In 2012, the rate of economic growth has slowed as the year advanced, and as the external economic environment worsened.

James Reilly (in front of microphones). Lucind...

James Reilly (in front of microphones). Lucinda Creighton (third from right). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The economic outlook remains encouraging, with the unemployment rate showing signs of stabilising below 15 per cent. Ireland’s economic recovery remains fragile and, as the IMF has pointed out, it would be wrong to underestimate the downside risk should projected growth targets for the economy fail to materialise.

Ireland has been praised as the “poster boy” of the financial crisis for the way it has swallowed the bitter medicine of austerity — unlike fellow bailed-out EU countries Greece and Portugal.

Now Dublin aims to be the first euro zone country to emerge from an EU-IMF program.

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