Well Ireland's economy has been too dependant on construction, so anything that tries to shore up that will be a waste of time and money. Our options are either to;
Encourage more large companies to Ireland by further reducing Corp tax to offset high cost base
Increase agricultural output
As far as I can see, that's all we've got to play with.
FAS needs a budget but nothing close to 1 billion per annum. And yes, I know, we don't need another consultant's bill but there must be some ethical democratic way to appoint a panel of people to investigate some of the disgraceful spending of public bodies.
Remove the minimum wage
Remove different land zone types
Remove capital gains tax
Remove planning approval requirements if its going to be a permanent private residence for longer than 15 years, hammer them if they sell, make it prohibitive i.e the cost for "my home is my castle" and i`ll have it looking like whatever I want not what some board of "experts" want.
Increase taxes on second or third and more properties.
Spread/Increase capital gains tax
Alter planning laws and zoning possibly create some new organisation for it.
Increase income tax during a boom
Increase reserve ratios during booms
Decrease income tax during recession
Decrease reserve ratio during a recession
I think the future is in Es - Education, Entertainment, Ecology, Environment, Exercise, Energy, Ecotourism, English, Eating ...
Are we beyond ourselves with our super duper Foxrock/SUV/€2grand handbag economy that we can't have a decent tourist and agricultural industry and sector? I think we should go back to this big style by doing some of blindjustice stuff below with capital gains tax on Ag land and rezoning .. (BJ can you explain your decrease/increase of the CGTax?)
We need to go back to manual labour and a bit of local farming and forestry. Coillte needs to be blasted apart and reformed - true reform of the forestry industry could be a part of immediate renewable energy industries that we need to be cultivating. This could provide local industry, employment and local energy. A proper reformed Coillte would have a sustainable forestry policy which would replant broadleaf forests as well as quick-growing shite for local consumption but there would have to be a long-term view of the forestry and tourist policy - we're talking twenty to thirty years in which a lot of currently unplanted land would be used for trees and businesses could fund these and possibly count them as assets on their balance sheets. Government needs to oversee these things properly.
Forestry would do something else besides helping to offset Carbon (the money standard of the future) and furnish local energy supply - it would greatly help the tourist industry. People like walking in woods and mountainbiking through them too ... we haven't enough here at all. The recent Act to allow right of access for walkers was a great milestone and should be extended to perhaps included the Labour Party idea of making all land over 150m public park area. Again, a policy of increasing National Parks would draw tourism locally and from abroad. I think the country should acquire land adjacent to existing National Parks thereby slowly increasing them. This would be another long-term job. Like in Australia and elsewhere you can camp in National parks and sometimes you pay a fee - that's what we could be doing here for the Campervan class among others. There will be arguments that Travellers will take over but (as an aside) I don't see why we can't integrate these people with a similar tolerance towards their nomadism ... Anyway, Ireland is one of the most beautiful places to visit and people come back for its beauty and we're not exploiting that enough with dedicated cycle lanes, walks and national parks all of which we could be focusing on long term. Tourism will be as much local as international and I'm guessing that more and more people will be getting involved in activities rather than coming here for just piss-ups ... Our number of hillwalkers has fallen in the last number of years from 300,000 to 100,000 because of access to hillwalking areas and expense - rip off Ireland.
How the hell do we keep our costs down? I'm thinking that some sound energy policies might help that - nothing can be done without energy and currently our economy is founded on an insecure base of imported fossil fuels. It's not that unstable but still prone to shocks and eventually it'll run down and become more expensive anyway. We could pursue an aggressive policy of self-sufficiency in renewables using wind, wave (google "Pelamis Portugal" for the latest Scottish-designed wave device in operation off Porto) and I'm convinced that Algae could generate plenty of fuel for us in the future. Do we have a decent Deptartment of Energy and so on which is radically analysing the potentials of renewable tech whereby tax breaks could be given for research or funding allocated to universities or grants subsidising research .. ?
A lot could flow from this if we get the fundamentals tackled; if your energy is cheaper maybe you'll have more money for other spending and maybe businesses will be more attracted here and compelled to stay for longer because of energy security... On the energy topic too - the recent idea of having reduced interest rate loans for retro-fitting older homes might be an idea ... if a few of the banks get nationalised soon then perhaps the like of this could work and generate some economic positives? Should we really send the Poles home so soon? Should we have Fas courses that emphasise trades and run courses that are geared towards retrofitting on a big scale? This would all help with energy conservation as well as with public health - retrofit your house on the never-never - I believe some areas in the states are doing this with solar power home installation - pay for it on the nevernever and let there be NO interest on it as it benefits the State. The State should have to pay no interest on money - NONE.
There's a lot of money falling into black holes and CurbYourEnthusiasms belief that public spending should be investigated is valid - how many jobs were created during the terms of this government that do fuck all? If I could change anything in the quangos I'd make the C&AGs office very powerful and answerable to the Opposition or to the public via a website like this. How do we know what money was spent on what?? During a boom you should sort out your shit - in Ennis we are up to our necks in shit sometimes and children have to drink it. Parts of Galway too are polluted and poisoned still but they don't give a damn because they are poor enough areas I guess. Down in Ennis some developers could not get planning permission because there is no sewage or water infrastructure underneath ! We blew the boom when we should have been sort this shit out big time. The last thing I will say is this: water looks plentiful when it's falling on your head but it's going to be the next Carbon limit; already there are noises about it because the means of getting freshwater is limited and soon it will contribute to the price of food - it takes 150 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef - yet we have leakage rates of up to 60% in some counties here !! I hope it's not too late to sort stuff out but I think it is because we seem to believe that progress and wealth means visible
progress and wealth - what good is having a €1500 handbag and a 95k SUV when you have to buy bottled water to avoid feeding feces to your family?