Sean Murphy, deputy chief executive of Chambers Ireland, was speaking as the European Commission said the recession in the eurozone was over, with the zone’s economy expected to improve gradually next year, and growth likely to accelerate in 2011.
However, there was a grim message for the Republic, which is not expected to begin recovery so quickly.
Commenting on public sector unions demands that their members pay be protected from cuts, Murphy warned that the state could either protect vital services or protect public sector pay and pensions.
“We simply cannot afford to do both,” he said.
At present, he said, public sector pay and pensions were crowding out all other investment decisions, including economic stimuli.
“Current union threats to public services confirm that those in the private sector, including the 400,000 people who are currently unemployed, are expected to continue to carry the majority of the burden from these challenging times.
“If we really are all in this together, then solidarity would demand that everyone bears an equal share of the burden for closing the enormous hole that exists in the public finances,” said Murphy.
He suggested that the Irish government, which is seeking