THEY have long been contenders for the titles of Ireland’s most gloomy and most upbeat economist respectively. But last week, two of our leading seers produced such contrasting predictions that it was hard to believe they were talking about the same economy.
So who is the Darth Vader of Irish economists, who now controls the gloomy economic forecasting lowlands? And who is the Jedi knight of the sunny vistas, who peers out at bright economic times from his upland forecasting peaks?
Out of the west comes Alan Ahearne, economist at NUI Galway, the first forecaster here to predict zero growth for this year. Ahearne says we are witnessing the ending of the 14-year prosperous chain for the Irish economy: in short, we are heading to recession in a handcart.
Out of Dublin, via Inishowen, Bank of Ireland chief economist Dan McLaughlin views things entirely differently.
McLaughlin says the economy will grow 3% this year.
McLaughlin and Ahearne have arrived at utterly different destinations. Here they set out their views on what lies ahead. Both of them cannot be right.
Bulls and bears split over economic future