Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Celtic Tiger purring along as Irish economy copes with competition

Tom Still:

The signs of prosperity are unmistakable in and around this western Irish city. Construction crews are at work everywhere, even in the picturesque countryside of County Galway and County Mayo.

The stores are full of shoppers. Real-estate prices are booming – almost too much so, according to some. And the streets are filled with young people, many of them students at Galway’s universities.

The “Celtic Tiger” of the late 1990s is still hunting new prey in 2005. While there are signs of trouble ahead, due in part to continued sluggishness in the rest of the European Union, the Irish economy remains an example for the world.

Recent visitors to Ireland cannot help but notice the abundance of new housing stock, the high living standards and the robust nature of cities such as Dublin and Galway.

Statistics tell much of the story: Irish productivity rates are among the highest in the world, and the economy continues to grow at a rate exceeding 5 percent per year.

More than one-third (39 percent) of the Irish population is under 25 years old – and they’re well educated. Unemployment, an Irish curse for generations, has fallen to 4.3 percent. Corporate taxes in Ireland are the lowest in the EU, the government provides financial incentives to expand there, and significant de-regulation has boosted key sectors of the economy.

Since 1996, Ireland’s economy has outperformed all others in the 25-nation EU. Technology and other “knowledge-based” businesses have helped to lead the way. Ireland is now the world’s largest software exporter and a hub of “outsourcing” for U.S. firms, many of which have opened branch offices here.

Viridian boosted by buoyant Irish economy


At 7:32 AM, Blogger Colm said...

As my Mom always said, all money and no class. Not really. She never said anything like that.

But when is Ireland going to transform this money into a better quality of life? I'd personally like to see this money-making obsession turn into a lifestyle-changing obsession. You forget to mention that we have poor health care, relatively low life expectancy, one of the highest suicide counts in the world and embarrassing infrastructure.

Money counts for shit if you can't spend it properly.


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