Ireland’s job market has improved markedly, thanks in no small part to strong policies for new skills to meet evolving demands and engagement with people out of work.
The recovery in the Irish economy is well underway. Determined policy responses to the fiscal, economic and financial sector challenges Ireland faced are now bearing fruit, with Ireland expected to be among the fastest-growing economies in the OECD this year and next.
When I launched the OECD’s 2011 Economic Survey of Ireland, the Irish economy was in the depths of a deep recession. Two years ago, the clouds were beginning to clear. Today, I am delighted to see how far and how quickly the country has bounced back.
Nothing has demonstrated Ireland’s shift to modern economic policies more concretely than our decision to become a founder member of the OECD in 1961. Since then the OECD has been a trusted partner in our economic and social policy evolution.
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The recession in Ireland was long and deep, but has been followed by a marked recovery. Why is the expansion in Ireland so strong?
Ireland has well-known firms such as Guinness for beer and beverages, Ryanair for air travel, and Smurfit Kappa for paper and packaging, not to mention dairies, beef and fish. However, for a small country that has turned itself into a thriving pharmaceutical and IT hub, Ireland is not awash with global brands in these sectors. Compare with, say, Finland which has Nokia, or Sweden which has Ericsson. True, there is Airtricity, but that innovative wind energy firm now belongs to an overseas company.
Interview with Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost and President, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Ireland has bounced back from the crisis to become one of the OECD’s most dynamic economies. A key help has been the continued inflow of capital investment from abroad, allowing the country to bolster its position as a European hub for the likes of IT, finance, pharmaceuticals, engineering, and more. Ireland has been an attractive destination for global high-value investments for decades, yet its own innovation system lags that of other similar-sized OECD countries. Closing the gap would strengthen the country’s long-term outlook, but how can this be done?
"The start-up environment is exceptionally dynamic."
Open any atlas, look at any globe, and Ireland appears as a small green island on Europe’s Atlantic rim. In fact, Ireland’s territory is almost the size of Germany, and mostly blue.
Brazilian Jobert Marinho stands in the doorway of his local gym, where he trains, in Gort, County Galway, November 2014.
The economic and financial crisis has posed a stern test of many countries, though in Ireland, which enjoyed a boom for over a decade, the challenge was particularly stark. The scars are still there, but so are opportunities. Well-targeted, sensitive social policies can yield positive results.
Today, bolstered by steady economic growth and an emerging confidence in Ireland’s future, the government is taking a new tack by fostering a bolder engagement towards emigration and the diaspora.
The writer James Joyce was unique in many ways, but when he left Ireland in 1904, he was joining a tradition of expatriate Irish writers. Difficulty publishing at home in what was then a conservative country was one reason for his departure: in his 1912 poem, “Gas from a burner”, he referred to Ireland as “This lovely land that always sent Her writers and artists to banishment.” But Joyce also declared that after his death “Dublin” would be found inscribed on his heart. Today the word “Joyce” is in turn inscribed in Ireland’s own heritage.
A growing economy means increased need for office space, housing and infrastructure. Can Ireland meet that demand?
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