Strategic Economic Planning Must be the Central Message for Election 2016

Chambers Ireland today launched A Vision for 2021 – A Manifesto for Ireland’s Future from the Irish Chamber Network. Vision 2021 sets out long term strategic goals for investment and economic development to make Ireland a more attractive place to live and work by 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the Manifesto, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland said, “Ireland has come through one of the most difficult periods of its history. In just a few short years we have emerged from an international bailout programme to become one of the strongest performing economies in Europe. We cannot overstate how crucial this General Election will be for Ireland’s development. It is a pivotal moment in Ireland’s history and will determine how our economy and society evolves in the future.

“Our economic recovery has been as remarkable as it is precarious. Much of our growth has been as a result of factors completely outside our control or influence; historically low oil prices, high levels of demand for our exports and currency movements that went in our favour. These can turn against us very rapidly, and our economy needs to be prepared for it. The next Government, whatever its complexion, must be resolute in their commitment to secure and sustain our economic future. We must focus on the development of capacity to grow, including a comprehensive capital investment strategy drawn up in line with the National Planning Framework, while at the same time continuing to manage current expenditure carefully within an ongoing program of reform and evolution.

“We believe it is incumbent on candidates to consider the long term sustainability of our economy when developing their economic positions in advance of the election. Our manifesto sets out what we believe to be the strategic priorities needed to deliver our vision for a thriving Irish economy and society in 2021. These priorities are set out within five categories which range from issues relevant to small business owners to issues important to international trade, all with a long term view on how to achieve our Vision for 2021. The five categories: Supporting Irish Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Supporting our People, Planning for Growth, Investing for our Future and Ireland in the Global Economy, outline the necessary steps to bring the Irish economy to a mature phase of growth and stability.”

  • Some of the key points of Manifesto
  • Maintain a broad tax base – The next Government must avoid repeating mistakes of the past and should ensure a broad tax base by maintaining or expanding user-based taxes and charges. These charges are progressive and encourage sustainability.
  • Maintaining Competitiveness of Irish Business – The next government must be vigilant of rising business costs that could potentially undermine competitiveness. Unless there is a clear and compelling case for increases in the National Minimum Wage, restraint should be exercised.
  • Childcare – A significantly higher level of Government investment in early childhood education and care is essential. We recommend that the next Government bring annual investment in early childhood education in line with UNICEF guideline of 1% with greater emphasis on quality of childcare and access to after-school services.
  • Education and Skills – The next Government must develop a strategic plan to ensure that the education system supports economic development and the skills needs of the economy.
  • Housing – There are currently 12 Government agencies involved and having responsibility for housing. The next Government must establish greater policy coherence at a national level through the establishment of a single overarching body which links all these disparate agencies together and which can focus on resolving short term issues and plan for long term housing demands.
  • National Planning Framework – The next Government must publish the National Planning Framework with clear commitment to have the Framework in place by the end of 2016 and to ensure political and governmental, nationally and locally, to its implementation.
  • Capital Investment – The establishment of a National Infrastructure Commission; an independent body that would depoliticise nationally important capital investment decisions. This would provide future Governments with independent verification that specific projects are being commissioned in the national interest and de-politicise essential infrastructure projects.