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Thought Leaders Gather on Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenges

Date: 28 October 2008 

Back to Basics Approach Needed to Restore Ireland’s Competitiveness

The National Competitiveness Council brought together over 120 of Ireland’s economic and business policy thought leaders to discuss the key competitiveness challenges currently facing the Irish economy. A cross section of senior representatives from the business community, trade unions, the public sector and education will gather at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, to analyse Ireland’s current performance and develop policy actions to improve our competitiveness.

Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, Dr. Don Thornhill said “Given the current economic position, it is now time for Ireland to get back to basics to restore economic growth. Hard choices need to be made and we must implement actions and reforms to support our long term competitiveness. Paradoxically, times of economic difficulty can also be times of opportunity – especially for policy reform. This conference will focus on four key areas that the NCC has identified as critical to Ireland’s competitiveness: cost competitiveness, education and innovation, investment policy, and energy competitiveness and climate change.”

Dr. Thornhill noted “This conference seeks to stimulate the conversation about the current challenges and potential opportunities, and inform the development of policy recommendations from the NCC to the Government. We wish to use this opportunity for clear thinking about implementing actions and reforms to support our long-term competitiveness. We did it before. During difficult times in our past when resources were scarce, we took courageous steps and tackled significant reforms that have delivered for Ireland. We need to develop the collective capacity to do this again. This will not be easy. Addressing the current challenges places heavy demands on leadership. It will also require consensus building on key actions which must be informed by analysis, reflection and an evidence-based debate.”

Through round-table discussions, participants will be invited to put forward individual perspectives and debate these key themes with the aim of developing policy responses to these challenges. The National Competitive Council will publish its annual statement to Government over the coming weeks and the outcomes of today’s dialogue will inform and prioritise the key competitiveness messages which will be delivered. This event will be addressed by Mary Coughlan TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Deborah Wince-Smith, President of the US Council on Competitiveness.

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Event: Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenge