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Business Briefs Celtic Tiger should become squirrel: business leaders

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy would do better to be a "Celtic Squirrel", husbanding and marshaling its resources more prudently, business leaders in Ireland have said. Launching an appeal for restraint in economic policy as the government prepares to deal with a surplus in its next budget, the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland said talk of the Celtic Tiger was leading to "some sort of misguided euphoria."

CCI President Philip O’Reilly said the country "ran the risk of losing

the run of ourselves in our approach to economic management" and urged careful investment to sustain economic growth into the next century. He called on the government to restrain public spending in the next budget and urged businesses and trades unions to curb price and wage rises. He said the government needed to address the widening gap between infrastructure investment and economic growth and called for major capital investment.

Thumbs down for tourist tax

A proposed tourist tax has been described as unrealistic by the head of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation. David Bunworth said the tax was conceived by people with no experience of the pressures in the commercial sector and that tourists were already heavily taxed.

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He was addressing key tourism representatives in the Shannon region on the Confederation’s "Strategy for Tourism Growth Beyond 2000.”

The Government earned £100 million more than had been anticipated in 1997, said Bunworth adding, "I think some of the thinking is so non-commercial it would put a chill up your spine.”

At a meeting with Tourism Minister Dr. Jim McDaid two weeks ago, he explained the confederation was vehemently opposed to the tourism tax proposal. "It is quite unrealistic to put a tax on tourists that are contributing £1.2 billion to the exchequer,” he said.

Costly accidents

There has been much media attention recently in Ireland on the number of deaths arising from road accidents. In 1997 alone, 472 people were killed on Irish roads and more than 13,000 injured. Last week, the National Roads Authority revealed in an estimate that the cost of one road death in Ireland can be as high as £787,000. And that, of course, is without even mentioning the terrible cost of the loss of life.

435 jobs for Offaly

Three industrial projects have been announced for County Offaly which will create a total of 435 jobs. Two of the new operations, LMS Beach and Continental, will be located in Tullamore, while the third, Sanirish, will be located in a new factory in Edenderry.

Irish Life profits up 40 percent

Irish Life, the country’s largest provider of life assurance, saw its

first-half profits bounce back after a bad first six months last year

when a strike by its field force blew the company off course for a good part of the year. Results for the first six months of 1998 show a strong recovery. Sales rose 38 percent to £94.9 million, with operating profits up 40 percent to £88.5 million. Chief executive David Went announced the very strong profit rise at the group’s headquarters in Dublin yesterday.

Dealing with the issue of churning, the malpractice practice where

existing clients were sold extra cover they didn’t require, Went said

the about 800 policies were under investigation and the matter will soon be finalized.

The U.S. will be the second string to the group’s bow for the foreseeable future, he said. It accounts for about one third of the group’s business, with Ireland responsible for the lion’s share.

Gas off Ireland

Test drilling of Enterprise Oil’s gas discovery off the West Coast of Ireland has "indicated the highest levels of gas ever recorded" in a find in Irish waters, according to the department of the Marine and Natural Resources. The discovery is about 34 miles off Achill Island. However, final appraisals have yet to be done.

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