4 Minutes to Read
1. Build a society, not an economy.
A generation of young people have grown-up with austerity, emigration and economic forecasts. Our self-worth as citizens is now defined by our contribution to an economy, not our society.
As a small island nation, we have the opportunity to create a society that values everyone, not as an economic data point in a federalized Europe, but as citizens of a proud island with a combination of unique cultures and values.
I am Irish. I want to know what it means to be Irish. What does it mean to be Northern Irish? How do we value our own contribution to society?
How much responsibility to do we take for that society?
When we start answering these questions, we can become more than an economy, and certainly more than the "best small country to do business in."
It means more than that. It means a lot more.
2. Increase our energy independence.
We produce around 11-12% of our own energy. By becoming more energy independent, we can remove our exposure to global shifts in energy prices and geo-political plays, which are increasing as power continues to shift to the developing world.
3. SME export fund
As the banking sector faces into a period of consolidation in the coming years, the government can create a new fund that focuses solely on creating indigenous businesses that are built to export.
Our current banking system is not fit-for-purpose to support new companies. Enterprise Ireland do good work in developing businesses and supporting them financially, but these companies are being built to be sold, not necessarily to be held. We need more mid-level companies creating more jobs exporting more product.
3. Build an agricultural centre of excellence
Silicon Valley is where the fun is at for high-growth tech companies. Heck, there is a good chance we will have one our own in the hands of @stripe. Ireland can be a leader in tech, but only in a dimension where we are already strong.
Agriculture jumps off the page.
Imagine if a centre of excellence that attracted the best young minds from the developing world to work with our best farmers and agricultural companies. We could not only make our own agricultural industry more effective, but we could build spin-off companies and create an eco-system at the intersection of agriculture and technology that would impact the entire world.
Mobile phones have already transformed access to markets for farmers and fishermen in the developing world. As the economic power of developing countries continues to grow, so too their demand for food and quality produce. There is growth opportunity here for new ideas and human innovation.
4. Reduce VAT in certain consumer categories
After the USC, this is the most regressive tax on our books. It stifles consumer spending and influences consumer confidence.
5. BRICS financial sector
Aggressively persue the emerging financial markets in the BRICS and beyond to ensure the security and future growth of the financial services sector.
Invest in a best-in-class high speed broadband network for the entire country. Internet access is a key infrastructure project that should be mapped out by government.
7. Invest in natural medicine
In 1933 Prof. J O'Reilly of UCC wrote paper outlining three industries the government could develop. Peatlands became Bord na Mona, forestry became Coillte and herbs and farming of essential oil extract was, for whatever reason shelved.
The popularity of natural medicine is on the rise and the health food industry will be big business in the future as cultures continue to share their knowledge around the world. An investment know in health farming will create an indigenous industry that can serve both domestic and foreign markets, as well as pushing health and wellness to the forefront of Irish consciousness.