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4
Sep
2015

In the world before 1950 it was rare for a poor country without significant natural resources to become rich. The moves led by the United States to cut tariffs in the 1950s prompted the 'Economic Development' report in 1958 in which T.K. Whitaker (1916- ), Ireland's then top civil servant, proposed the end of protectionism and the embracement of re-emerging globalisation by attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to boost exporting. In a 1957 memorandum on the failure of Irish economic policy and the general sense of hopelessness in the country, Whitaker warned that "without a sound and progressive economy, political independence would be a crumbling facade." Two decades later in 1978 Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) also faced a choice as it had been over a century since China had been the world's biggest economy — Angus Maddison (1926-2010), the renowned economics historian, chronicled the grim intervening times here.

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3
Sep
2015

On a seasonally adjusted basis the Live Register total recorded a monthly decrease of 1,900 (-0.6%) in August 2015, reducing the seasonally adjusted total to 341,400. In unadjusted terms the CSO reported today that there were 359,076 people signing on the Live Register in August 2015 — this represents an annual decrease of 39,249 (-9.9%). Adding the 67,000 in public activation schemes in July (the level was 65,000 in July 2014 and in non-summer months is typically at about 80,000) gives a total number of 426,000 and a broad rate of unemployment of about 19%.

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3
Sep
2015

The Irish budget deficit continues to decline and Department of Finance Exchequer returns published Wednesday showed red ink (general government items only) of €3.7bn in the year to end-August, down from €6.5bn a year earlier. Stripping out what is seen as a timing issue in one department, the deficit is €1.9bn (0.9% of GDP) better than the government's original Budget 2015 expectations — it is likely to undershoot the original target of 2.7% of GDP by a significant margin to result in a likely outturn of below 2% of GDP in 2015.

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3
Sep
2015

The latest Irish services PMI (purchasing manager's index) survey show improving economic conditions in Ireland continued to benefit the service sector in August, resulting in further sharp expansions of activity and new business. Companies responded by taking on extra staff at the fastest pace in three months. The CSO will publish the official services index for July on Friday — in the 12 months to June, the index was only up by 2.4%.

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2
Sep
2015

Barnardos, the children's charity has been surveying for a decade the additional costs of free Irish education for parents besides the State's provision of teachers and facilities. It says that one of "the greatest myths perpetuated by the Government is that education is free for all children." Zurich Life has summarised the costs here and has added other data.

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1
Sep
2015

Growth of the Irish manufacturing sector continued in August, although output, new orders and employment all rose at weaker rates than in the previous month. The rate of cost inflation eased to a six-month low and firms reduced their output prices for the third consecutive month.

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28
Aug
2015

The  volume of Irish retail sales (i.e. excluding price effects) increased by 11.6% in July 2015 when compared with June 2015 and there was an increase of 9.9% in the annual figure. If Motor Trades are excluded, there was an increase of 0.6% in the volume of retail sales in July 2015 when compared with June 2015 and there was an increase of 6.6% in the annual figure. Sales of alcohol have also surged according to the CSO — the statistics agency does not provide a breakdown of pub sales but we can safely say that alcohol dominated.

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27
Aug
2015

The CSO on Thursday reported that Ireland's official unemployment rate fell to 9.5% in July with the addition of 57,000 jobs in the 12 months to the second quarter of 2015. However, while employment is at a six-year high, the CSO also reported net emigration by Irish nationals continued for a sixth straight year. Meanwhile, despite strong headline exports, a small percentage of the 120,000 jobs added since the fourth quarter of 2012 were in the tradeable export sectors.

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26
Aug
2015

Ireland's Budget 2016 is due to be announced on 13 Oct 2015 and the focus of the governing coalition is to win the next Irish general election that has to be held by 9 April 2016 — the Government has to call an election within 25 days (excludes St Patrick's Day, bank holidays and Sundays) of the fifth anniversary of the first sitting of the 31st Dáil on 9 March 2011. Easter Sunday in 2016 will fall on 27 March, the day the Government intends to commemorate the 1916 Rising, which it would also hope would burnish its halo.

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21
Aug
2015

Last April 1st, the end of a three-decade milk production quota regime in the European Union was hailed by the Government as "a great day for the rural Ireland" with the potential for agriculture in Ireland to move forward into broad, sunlit uplands with the opening of new markets and the creation of thousands of jobs in the agri-food sector. Today farmers in Ireland and across Europe are demanding that the European Commission set a new minimum price at which it would buy stocks of dairy products to help farmers.

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