Blog- Optimism and Tenacity

All of us to a greater or lesser degree display optimism and tenacity in the way we go about our daily lives. The present is one of these times in our history when these characteristics are at a premium. We should be optimistic about the future. Apart from the fact that recessions are of their nature cyclical, there are real grounds for optimism here in Ireland. Our exports are very strong and improving. We have a highly educated young workforce with a very broad skill set. In fact the Irish demographic is the strongest in Europe boasting a high ratio of young people. Job Creation in the Private Sector is strong and increasing consistently. In the Agricultural Sector good prices for primary producers is boosting and sustaining our rural economy. The recently announced AEOS Scheme will assist job retention and creation in addition to impacting on the physical environment. Tourism has been boosted by the reduction in VAT rates and will receive an enormous boost from next years ‘Gathering’. In the hi-tech and pharmaceutical area we are very strong and have disproportionately attracted inward investment in this area. A re-organisation of the Third Level Sector and the appropriate curricular emphasis at Second Level, will bridge whatever skills deficit we have at the high end of the I.T. Sector.
Our public finances are being brought under control as per our bailout terms and the programme for Government. International Media reports are ample testimony to the fact that confidence in our Economy has been restored. The reducing rate on Irish Bonds is tangible evidence of this. An agreement by the heads of Government to retrospectively benefit Ireland from the decision to separate Banking and Sovereign debt through the use of the European Stability Mechanism and the ECB are yet to be honoured to our advantage. We have already had a €3.1 billion Promissory Note postponed. Despite the public domain around it, the Croke Park Agreement has secured industrial peace and some reform of service delivery and its cost base.
Tenacity us the quality now needed to build on progress to date. As I said, there are strong grounds for optimism and with true grit we can make the future very bright. Our immediate challenge is to bring in a budget, further reducing the deficit by taking €3.5billion out of the economy. This will keep us on course to bring the deficit to 3% of Gross Domestic Product. As well as the soft options for new taxes and reduction of public expenditure have been exploited this will be very painful. I don’t want to minimise how difficult this will be for people who are already suffering. While there is no denying the heroic sacrifices and direct pain required of the people, the alternative cannot be contemplated. That alternative is to undo all the progress to date, delaying the restoration of economic sovereignty, undermining international confidence and inward investment and radically increasing the cost of servicing our debt and future borrowings. The great challenge for Government is to keep on track while trying to minimise the impact on consumer confidence. This challenge for all of us is to be able to treat this Winter, however difficult, as a time for courage, patriotism and sacrifice for the common good.
Returning to optimism, there are signs of recovery in both our domestic economy and internationally property prices here are bottoming out and increasing in Dublin which will spread outward. As I said, Job Creation is strong and consumer confidence will be boosted as the fruits of our good work internationally show more practically. The Euro Zone is more stable than it has been for some time. The markets are accepting that over recent months, notably through the fiscal compact and the separation of banking and sovereign debt, the Euro is strengthened and consolidated.
We Irish have survived the great Famine, we have rebuilt our Country after the Civil War, we have built peace in Northern Ireland and we have coped with the haemorrhage of our population through waves of emigration. All of this required an indomitable spirit, tenacity, true grit and indeed optimism. We are a resilient people when faced with adversity. Never was our strength of character, camaraderie, humour, tenacity and optimism more needed.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website