“Our high cost of living is another significant threat to our economic competitiveness that must be addressed. Housing, transport, healthcare and childcare costs make Ireland one of the most expensive places in the world to live.”

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has said the government must take urgent heed of today’s stark warning by the State’s competitiveness body that our economy is under threat because of an over-reliance on multinationals.

Deputy Shortall said:

“The National Competitiveness Council is today warning that Ireland’s economy is far too exposed to external shocks such as post-Brexit tariffs or barriers to trade. “Its research clearly shows that the economy’s vulnerability is due to an over-reliance on a narrow and volatile tax base, with a third of Irish exports coming from just five companies in the pharma and tech sectors. Yet the government continues to blindly pursue short-sighted policies based on an economic model which is not sustainable.

“What’s more, the NCC is warning that the reliance for economic growth based on the activities of a small number of big firms disguises a large number of smaller firms where productivity is stagnant or falling.

“The government needs to pay serious and urgent heed to these warnings and actively work to build stronger foundations for long-term economic growth. This includes providing substantially more help to indigenous firms, so they can grow and diversify into new markets. Encouraging home-grown small and medium sized entrepreneurs in a range of sectors will help to make the economy much more shock resistant.”

Deputy Shortall added: “Our high cost of living is another significant threat to our economic competitiveness that must be addressed. Housing, transport, healthcare and childcare costs make Ireland one of the most expensive places in the world to live. They add significantly to the cost base of the economy and make it much harder to attract sustainable jobs and businesses.

“How many more times must the government be told that its economic approach isn’t working? We need to see much more ambition, diversity and long-term planning when it comes to managing our economy.”

ENDS

1 August 2018