Well done to Fine Gael and Labour on their Taoisach’s appointees to the Seanad. Nice mix of interesting appointments. Martin McAleese in particular was an inspired appointment. Nice one, Enda.
More good trade figures here underline the fact that a key problem with restoring a decent level of economic growth is the fact that the domestic retail economy is so weak, and will stay that way, I suspect, until people start to see unemployment figures start to come down. Yet unemployment will struggle to come down as long as the domestic retail economy remains weak. Breaking that cycle is the greatest challenge facing the government.
Met an intelligent woman this week who underlined for me the problems the Progressive Democrats had with their public image. She said that she could never vote for such a right-wing party, yet struggled to name a single policy of the party that would be deemed right-wing by modern standards. Interestingly, when we got on to social policy, she was conservative right-wing in her views. Just goes to show that one of the greatest flaws the PDs had was their inability to prevent their opponents shaping their image.
Reading about the anti-unemployment demonstrations in Spain here, one can’t help thinking that the demonstrators would be just as opposed to the means of creating jobs as to the problem itself. Spain’s redundancy packages seem very generous (see here, and bear in mind that in most of the Irish private sector you get two weeks for each year after two years worked). It means that an employer has to consider before hiring whether they can actually afford to pay redundancy. If such a rule existed in Ireland, many employers would find it cheaper to not hire new staff but pay existing staff overtime as needed.