1. There is finally going to be change in Ireland, real change. Old things are going to be torn down. They need to be torn down because they cost too much, deliver no value, and we can’t afford them anymore. They should have been torn down long ago. The fiscal crisis is the catalyst for dealing with deep problems.
This might not be the ideal sort of change. It is coming too late. It would have been better to reform when there is money around. But better late than never.
2. There are loads of incredibly brainy and talented people in Ireland. To take my own pet area of transport, have a look at Hit The Road. A transport planner built with no cooperation, funding or assistance from the backward-looking transport providers. Brilliant.
3. Our Department of Finance, the Achilles heel that led to our destruction, is now under adult supervision.
Since September, a permanent team of ECB “observers” has taken up residence in the Department of Finance. Although of many nationalities, they are known there, dismayingly but inevitably, as “The Germans”.
(Source: Morgan Kelly, Irish Times)
4. There is going to be an election soon. This will cause some instability, but it will at least mean that the country will no longer be in the hands of the wide boys and piss artists who ran it into the ground.
5. Property and goods are coming down to something like a reasonable price now (although no one can get credit to buy anything, but that will sort itself out too). You can actually buy a house for under 200,000 euros. You can have a decent standard of living.
6. Wages are becoming realistic and people are available to hire. In international terms, this makes us viable and competitive again.
7. There is a global recovery, although it is fragile. We are a globally oriented economy, so that’s good for us. Exports of services have stayed steady through the crisis, indicating that our customers have confidence in us. (However, these figures do need to be handled using gloves, see below.)
8. Ireland has a gateway to the world. That is because there is a lot of multinational presence here. That is important because it gives us a gateway to the world. It gives us an international outlook (or at least it should). It gives our people practical hands-on understanding of the global economy.
(What gives us this gateway? Some people think our strong export edge is because of how competitive we are. In reality all it proves is that we have a competitive tax system. But how we got this advantage isn’t the point, what matters is how we take advantage of it).
9. We have plenty of infrastructure. We have loads of new roads and transport capacity. There are loads of houses and apartments. All this is in place and means that we are ready for massive growth. (However, we really have to think about and plan how we actually use this infrastructure. Higher landing charges are unlikely to bring more visitors to Dublin Airport, for instance.)
10. The last point comes back to people. We have a young population, unlike most of the Western World. This is their home and they’ve weathered the crisis so fare, in spite of the fact that some of them are lumbered down with debt. They like it here and they want to be the engine of growth that will make this a great place to grow old and retire in.