There has been much talk in recent weeks and months to suggest that Ireland may finally be on the up and up, after many years of foundering in the mires of economic recession.
In the past month Ireland’s rate of recovery has been praised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, ECB president Mario Dreghi and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro Olli Rehn.
As part of the latest quarterly KCB Bank Ireland/Chartered accountants of Ireland business sentiment survey 47% of respondents reported an increase in business activity, the highest number of positive responses since 2007.
According to figures from the Quarterly Economic Commentary for Autumn 2013 our economy could grow by as much as 2% in GNP terms this year.
As well as this, Minister for Social Protection Joan Bruton has said she expects live register numbers to fall below 400,000 in the next month or so, the lowest they will have been since 2009, although the drop in this number will in part be due to emigration.
Another good sign for the economy is the relatively easy-going budget for 2014 announced yesterday by the government. Although there will still be many cuts; senior citizens have been hit especially hard, it is being billed as “the last austerity budget” and Enda Kenny has said he expects it to provide the state with a primary surplus in 2014, which will allow Ireland to begin to decrease national debt.
Ireland is also poised to exit the bailout next year, and Olli Rehn has expressed confidence in the country’s ability to survive in the Eurozone unaided by a precautionary credit line. However Mario Dreghi declined to comment on whether Ireland would require a precautionary credit line as it was still being “discussed by the relevant authorities”.
With a prevailing feeling of cautious optimism now surrounding the fate of the Ireland and its chances in the future, The City took to the streets to find out whether or not the nation has confidence in the Irish economy.
Reporter: Megan Naughton
Videography and editing: Kay Cairns