Nothing of positive note emerged for all the pain to consumers or small businesses – especially the drinks trade. Equally, as we’ve come to expect, the usual sleight of hand in this Budget left income tax rates untouched but in just about every other way the consumer’s pocket is the emptier for it.
As Michael Byrne the Chartered Accountant who put together this month’s Expert View on the Budget indicates, “In the context of an uncertain Eurozone and global economy, the Budget measures still constrain the pace of Irish economic recovery”.
And as ISME Director Mark Fielding explains in our 1&1 interview, those in power are simply not working in unison.
“At Government level there needs to be an Irish ‘brand’,” he points out, “There’s no point in going at it ‘piecemeal’ where the different departments don’t talk to each other”.
But perhaps what’s most depressing in all this is that there’s no light at the end of this tunnel, nothing that’s going to stimulate the domestic economy – and no hope of any bright ideas from this generation of dyed-in-the-wool bureaucrats on hard pay and soft pensions. It really is a bleak prospect that there’s no one emerging into view down the political line to offer some creative ideas that might put us on the road to prosperity, however small and narrow that road may start out.
This Budget was simply unimaginative from a political generation too long in the job to think outside the envelope — and thinking outside the envelope, making bold moves and not being afraid of the political consequences, is what’s needed now more than ever for Ireland.
For example, last month our Discussion Forum threw up an interesting idea which a less overweening Government might seriously explore – we have the top IT companies in the world headquartering here in Ireland. Couldn’t we seize the initiative, sit down with these forward thinkers and see how we, as Brand Ireland, might mobilise their expertise in today’s economy?
Ireland needs a brave new political world, a brave new political outlook with brave new politicians. Alas what we seem to be stuck with is pedantry from our current politicians offering mundanity for the masses.