Analysis > Sean Whelan

Re-launching the single market

The “re-launch” of the EU single market by the European Commission was quite a damp squib – rather surprisingly, as the single market is supposed to be the big idea that drives much EU action. That big idea has been less of an energising factor over the last decade, partly because people have gotten used to it, partly because new technologies and industries have grown up and need a legal framework that accommodates them to the single market concept. As …

The strange world of non-tax revenue

How are we going to cope when the non-tax revenue the State has come to rely on starts to wind down over the next few years? This is an important question, and it’s raised by Central Bank economists Ronan Hickey and Diarmaid Smyth in a paper published today in the latest Central Bank Quarterly Bulletin. Non-tax revenue is money that flows into the state coffers from sources other than tax, and it’s rocketed in recent years – going from €0.6bn …

Sustaining health spending

The OECD has just published an overview of public health spending in its member states. Its main finding is that by mid-century most public health systems will no longer be financially viable on current trends. Mid-century is 35 years’ time. If you are 30 now you should be worried. If you are 50 now, you should be very worried – not so much about the financial implications of this finding, but of the political implications. Over the past 20 years …

The NICE Economy

Mervyn King – now there’s a name you don’t hear much these days.  But the former governor of the Bank of England must have made an impression on the Economics staff at Goodbody Stockbrokers, who have adapted one of Mervyn’s acronyms to describe the current state of the Irish economy – and that acronym is NICE. In the Irish case it stands for Non-Inflationary Credit-less Expansion (the original referred to UK growth in the 1990s, which it characterised as Non-Inflationary …

Where’s the investment?

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan The IMF published some research this week on what it calls the “disappointing performance” of private fixed investment in the aftermath of the economic crisis. This low level of investment has, it says, contributed to a drop in potential output in numerous economies. So why is there so little investment?

The dilemma of a better Budget

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan So the ESRI thinks the budget deficit could be down to 0.3% by the end of next year. This is very close to it being eliminated – which is what is supposed to happen by the end of 2018. This is a sign of just how strongly the ESRI thinks the economy is growing. It’s also a bit of a dilemma for the Government; and the European Union.

Regional Roughhouse

Well that hit the spot.  The Nevin Economic Research Institute’s quarterly economic commentary doesn’t usually lead to Twitter fights and attacks by the Government, but last Thursday’s edition did. And it was all caused by having a look at the CSO’s employment figures for 2014, and trying to figure out where the jobs are being created. In a 58-page report, it was just one page, home to box 2.1, that caused all the fuss. This was an item about trends …

An unhealthy health sector

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan One of the things regretted by senior officials in the Department of Finance is that they didn’t include reform of Health spending in the Troika bailout programme from day one. Instead it crept into the programme around half way through, so a lot of the impetus for taking hard decisions was lost. The consequences of that loss of impetus were laid out in an EU report this week.

The value of a Heathrow slot

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan UCD Economist Colm McCarthy presented a paper on the hot topic of Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow Airport at an conference in Dublin today, making some interesting points in the process. He begins by setting out some basic facts about slots, Heathrow, and the two airlines at the heart of this matter – British Airways and Aer Lingus.

The cost of a Greek default

If Greece defaults, we – Ireland – stand to lose €1.7 billion, according to Standard and Poor’s. And most of that loss falls on the Central Bank, the most profitable bank in the country, not the Government, which is only liable for €347m in bilateral loans. Of course the Government’s own sums rely on the Central Bank paying back up the usual billion in dividend, rather than writing it off on a Greek default. That, and the bilateral loan loss, …