Labour Blog

Labour Blog

State of the Nation

Posted on March 23, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Deputy Joan Burton

Deputy Joan Burton, Labour Party Spokesperson on Finance reports on her State of the Nation seminar held over the weekend in Cork.

Last Saturday, over 100 people attended Labour's 'State of the Nation' economic seminar in Cork.

There was rapt attention from the first moment until the last, showing the hunger of people from the four corners of Munster to engage constructively on the economic challenges facing our country.

Recently elected Labour MEP from North Tipperary, Alan Kelly, opened the event by exploring the European dimension to Ireland's road to recovery. He highlighted the positive role that the EU can play in supporting Ireland's 'ideas economy', but stressed that recovery was in our own hands.

Session one had an ominous title - 'From Boom to Bust - Where did it all go wrong?'

Professor Brian Lucey, from Trinity College Dublin, gave a master-class on our banking crisis - why policy failures made it inevitable, and what we need to do to solve it. (Prof Lucey's presentation is available to view on Issuu.)

Brian O'Mahony, Chief Business Reporter at the Irish Examiner, excoriated the government's failed approach to the economy. They failed to see it coming, and they to deal with it when it came.

In my own contribution, covered extensively in the Sunday Independent, I concentrated on the need for us to invest in recovery, not bail out our broken banks. I set out Labour's stall, highlighting our 'Jobs Fund' and 'Strategic Investment Bank' ideas for recovery. In short, I said, we need an honest, competent government with a vision for change, a mandate for action and a belief that Ireland can be better.

After the habitual break for tea and coffee, the event struck a more optimistic tone as the second panel of the day tried to chart Ireland's road to recovery.

Colum Horgan, co-founder of Aspiracon, an award-winning, Cork-based, hi-tech start-up, set out the challenges Ireland faces in delivering a 'smart economy'. We have delivered for multi-nationals in the past, he said - 'now it's time we delivered for ourselves'. Our leaders must drive a culture of indigenous, high-tech start-ups in the IT, Bio-Pharma, and green-tech sectors.

Dr. Tom O'Connor, lecturer at Cork Institute of Technology, stressed the need for targeted economic stimulus as driven by the Obama administration and most developed economies around the globe (you can see Dr O'Connor's presenatation here on Issuu.)

Labour's own Sean Sherlock TD expanded on the potential for agri-growth - our world renowned farming sector can be a key driver in economic recovery.

Lively question and answer sessions after both panel discussions signalled an engaged audience that wanted to move beyond the blame game and starting looking for solutions to the economic crisis wrought by Fianna Fáil. Unsurprisingly, a Labour led government was top of their list!

By Joan Burton TD - follow Joan and Labour on Twitter.

Permanent link | Comments | Categories: Finance

blog comments powered by Disqus