Just some comments on some of your ideas.
It’s dangerous to append “no matter what” to something you have to do. It means concessions you might regret later. Lisbon should be passed but it is going to be a fine rope to walk to get there.
Property supports should be in favour of the buyer. I think the beauty was the removal of stamp duty support for new developments for FTBs which opened up the secondhand market to FTBs big time. A support which unduly supports the supply side is unwise.
3 and 13 - we have a habit of setting up things half assed in this country, Various tribunals are an example. I think that while we need an authority to sort out the implementation of an knowledge economy, it needs to be recognised that all sorts of areas have an interest here - education/transport/infrastructure/communications. My worry with this is that a simplistic approach will be taken and then, we wind up with different sides pulling against each other. Political backing is all very well but the issues in Ireland tend to be practical and financial.
Public sector reform cannot be implemented without some sort of a vision of what is required. An example of a fiasco in this respect was the reform of the health service. Most people would suggest that the modus operandi of the HSE is horrific and does not merit even being considered an improvement over the old health boards. “We need to reform public sector” - how. Much is made of how much it costs but it seems to me we don’t want to pay for a decent public sector - this is obvious from complaints about the easy life they have - and we make it unattractive for go getters to go in there because of that attitude.
It is unacceptable to be paying people to do nothing, this is true. However, if unemployment is rising, your hands may well be tied. Why are people out of work? If you’ve 17% unemployment, how do you expect people to live? I often see this as an easy target. What you need to do is address career social welfare. Yours is a simplistic approach.
Work experience is not the issue. The problem in IReland is the attitude of teenagers to education. It is commonly horrific. What might be more interesting is workplacement visits. I happened to have a tour of a major manufacturing facility at the weekend. It was fascinating. I think stuff like that could be far more productive than generic three months work experience in the local Spar which frankly is the most likely outcome of your idea without ten thousand conditions being applied to it.
- Investment in tourism is ongoing and by and large, certainly in my experience, the issue relating to the B&B network is not quality but price. This however seems to be changing. We could do with better tour guides however and being brutally honest, we don’t pay them enough. Certainly a construction worker on 55K a year for the last five years isn’t going to want to work in the hospitality industry at 25K a year.
Agreed. But would also add that we need to invest very heavily in other areas of research and in manufacturing. We need export industries. The old hands in the IDA knew this. That’s why we got the profile of FDI that we did.
- this will only happen if we nationalise a telco. We may have to do that.
10 and 11. Political reform is necessary but it also requires a monumental re-education of a disenfranchised society. Planning legislation needs to be reformed - this is more an issue than local authority control. I’m of the opinion that a certain number of items need to be localised rather than centralised and to do that, I would suggest that three regional elected authorities be set up to handle health, education and transport. Local taxation needs to be addressed and local authority financing needs to be looked at.
In terms of the number of TDs, I would suggest that we cut it by roughly 30%. I think a second chamber is desirable however the method by which members are selected for that chamber needs to be re-examined.
13 - agreed. This should be par for the course
14 - property tax should be levied on non PPRs and non-inhabited investment property.
In general, I think we need a vision of the future, along with a plan of how to get there. As this tends to involve long term planning, few political parties have the guts to do it.
If I had some option on running the country, I would look at gaps in certain areas, such as financial regulation, compliance and whether things are being done for the benefit of service providers or customers (eg transport).
We need to de-topheavy-ify the population so I would up investment in infrastructure to Limerick, Cork, Galway and probably Waterford (maybe Sligo but not so sure) and endeavour to get more FDI into those areas. The objective of that would be to reduce the pressure on the Liffey basin in terms of sheer weight of numbers, infrastructure deficits and reduce the necessity for so many people to have to commute, or relocate to one main location.
The Public Accounts Committee is generally okay but needs to be more visible in terms of assessing how our money is spent.
HSE to be broken up into three regional health authorities.
We need to look at upping our exports, both visible and invisible. Failte Ireland are okay but I would suggest not as accountable as they could be. Tourism is not going to save our skin either because it’s not peopled with alot of high value jobs.
Some social changes are required as well. We have a warped way of looking at reality - so there’s a certain amount of snobbery towards people who do very essential jobs, without which our economy cannot function (my favourite is refuse collection). Our education system needs to be overhauled and become more skills/ability oriented. We need to lose this situation where we wind up with a load of very bright but not very suitable to the role doctors and lawyers.
all by way of an example. I am now hungry.