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Businessbriefs EU growth could tame economic expansion

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

So far, Ireland’s European Union membership has proved an unqualified economic success, but this could change, according to some economists. As EU enlargement progresses beyond the current 15 members, some states will lose out to the broadening base of trading partners.

Ireland is particularly at risk, says Swedish economist Bengt Karlsson, as new members will inevitably come from Eastern Europe, where the Celtic Tiger has limited trade links.

Name the country?

"A temperate climate, but slightly moist, a somewhat unstable political climate, well-developed telecommunications and a high standard of nightlife:" that’s how the online magazine Escape from America is touting Ireland to would-be refugees from the cradle of capitalism. We give them five marks out of 10 for accuracy.

Preening the Celtic Tiger

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Plans were announced last week for yet more redevelopment work in Dublin. Now it’s the turn of the Grand Canal basin on the Liffey’s south side. Minister for the Environment Noel Dempsey said it was the largest undertaking to date of the Docklands Development Act, signed way back in the 1980s.

Last stop before New York

For those who have experienced the twisty, winding roads en route to Dublin Airport, here’s some good news from airport manager Aer Rianta. A rail link to the city center has been proposed, at an estimated cost of £300 million, as well as a new terminal building and an internal rail system. The rail link to the city would take passengers to and from Dublin’s upcoming subway system, and will be completed by 2006.

Mary, Mary!

Ryanair was in no mood to cheer Aer Rianta. The cut-price airline took out a full-page advertisement in the Irish Times accusing Minister Mary O’Rourke of protecting Aer Rianta from competition. "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your monopoly grow?" asks the advert. In spite of this, Ryainair adds that Dublin Airport has more connections to British regional hubs than either Heathrow or Gatwick, no doubt taking the credit for that.

Icono-closed

Another cloud in the economic sky appeared with the closing of the Icon complex at Leopardstown Racecourse. Due to a fall in visitor numbers, the company has shut up shop with the loss of 64 jobs. Icon opened in April 1999 at a cost of $20 million, with Baileys the drinks company putting in about $9 million.

Cheers!

Baileys and other Irish drinks companies will be toasting the end-of-year figures showing food and drinks exports up 4.4 percent to a record level of £5.4 billion. Bord Bia also reported that exports of beef and other meat products increased despite the continuing mad cow disease scare.

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