“The immediate challenge is to create a ‘can-do’ and ‘must-do’ ethos in Ireland,” according to the thinktank known as G17.
Its report, ‘A Blueprint for Ireland’s Recovery’, puts forward proposals to create jobs, reform the public sector, rebuild international confidence in Ireland and re-engineer the banking system.
G17 is chaired by businessman Philip Lynch and the chief executive of the Rehab Group, Angela Kerins. The plan, which spans over 38 pages, was written before the new Government was unveiled but was submitted to the Department of the Taoiseach in March and talks are now expected to be scheduled with the Government.
The goal, G17 says, “must be to stimulate the economy and create jobs and thus build a fair and just society”. The main crux of the report is that the state cannot borrow its way out of the economic and financial crisis and other ways of boosting recovery must be worked out.
One of the ways this could be done would be to make further cuts in public spending, reduce the public sector by about 30,000 jobs and reform the social welfare system, the report states.
A new Minister for Competitiveness would ensure that targets are met on public sector reform while electoral and public sector reform should be monitored with regular progress reports.
Despite the bleak economic situation, jobs can still be created, the group argues. More than 200,000 jobs could be created by developing five main sectors: manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, life sciences, and information and communications technology.
The blueprint also suggests that the state’s two largest banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland, should be sold to international buyers. There are also calls for Nama to be reviewed as the group believes it has failed to meet its objectives.
Another proposal is that Entreprise Ireland and the IDA should be given more power to target overseas investment and an investor-relations strategy should be developed.
Among the targets, the group claims that 20 per cent of foreign direct investment should be sourced from south east Asia by 2015 and Ireland should aim to be the most competitive country in the euro zone by 2016.
While the blueprint contains detailed proposals, the group says the list is “not exhaustive” but should “help remedy the serious deficiencies in the economic and governance structures of the country.”
· Michael Berkery
· John Bruton (Former Taoiseach)
· Leslie Buckley
· Pat Cox
· Dermot Desmond
· Angela Kerins
· Frank Flannery
· Philip Lynch
· Ray MacSharry
· Denis O’Brien
· Seán O’Driscoll
· Michael O’Flynn
· Mike Soden
· Michael Somers
· Dick Spring
· Peter Sutherland
· Brendan Tuohy