President Michael D Higgins: he might have been expected to understand the limitations of the role of president and, more specifically, not to use it as a platform to advance a political agenda

Higgins has resorted to tiresome name-calling of the reactionary left, including their favourite term of abuse ‘neoliberal’

The most important number in the latest national accounts is noticeably off target

Prof of international business and development at Trinity College Dublin, Frank Barry, speaks at the Joint Oireachtas Sub Committee on Global Taxation. Photograph: Alan Betson

Prof Frank Barry describes World Bank estimates of low profit tax as ‘rubbish’

Astonishingly, the apprenticeship system – even now – is still geared towards the building industry, despite the OECD making clear recommendations for this insanity to stop in its last report, two years ago.

Report cites over 170 budget lines in ‘innovation space’

Dr Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the Paris-based think-tank, warned that growth, frustratingly slow to date, would not pick up unless competitiveness improved and the banks’ balance sheets were cleaned up.  Photograph: Reuters

Think-tank points to labour market reforms and need for more competitiveness

The OECD has criticised Government policies on job creation. Photograph: Frank Miller /The Irish Times

But think tank says Government policies do not focus enough on long-term unemployment

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on September 15th, 2008, the day 
as the bankruptcy filing by U.S. investment bank 
Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago exposed the rotten core of the west’s financial system, changing America, Ireland (...)

Supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party in Greece. Photograph: Grigoris Siamidis/Reuters

Jobs markets of fellow euro zone peripherals gives cause for despair

 Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, speaking on the steps of the Department of Finance yesterday after the quarterly results were published. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Exports and consumer spending rise but GDP growth fails to meet projections

Successful together, the posters read, but Germany has some problems as well as its many successes. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Weakness in Paris and Rome and irrelevance of UK make Berlin more vital

Stephansplatz, Vienna. In economic terms, Austria’s social partnership is often considered a model with the rate of unemployment in the Alpine state never once rising above 5 per cent since 1950. Photograph: Getty Images/Gallo Images

The Irish labour market performance has not matched that of Austria since 1950

The case in favour of higher alcohol prices to cut consumption is weak and getting weaker

Laws to criminalise the purchase of sex and place a floor under alcohol prices are not needed

Fall due to steep decline in bank bailout costs, down to €280m from €6.8bn in 2011

Dublin house prices jumped 3.6 per cent in June, the largest increase since the CSO began compiling the series in 2005, while apartment prices declined 2.3 per cent. Photograph: Frank Miller

Largest ever increase in Dublin prices in June highlights two-speed market

Reports this week that the South African bank, Investec, will enter the mortgage market are to be welcomed, but this will not be a game-changer

Pent-up demand may explain the latest trend but repossessions could see price falls

Analysis: Seniors got more from the boom and have given less back as belts tightened in the bust

A woman walks past a union flag attached to a shuttered shopfront on the Shankill Road in west Belfast last  December following violent protests over restrictions on flying the flag from Belfast City Hall. “If anyone is in any doubt about how conflict disrupts business, just ask Belfast’s hard-pressed merchants.” Photograph: Reuters

Comment: Business interaction doesn’t only reduce the propensity to violence out of self-interest – it brings people together

Average weekly incomes among the elderly dropped by 5 per cent from 2009 to 2011.Photograph: Alan Betson/The  Irish Times

CSO figures show one in 10 over-65s were living on breadline in 2011

However, there is a long way to go

Zone returns to growth after longest recession since euro was created in 1999

The expansion in the euro zone’s economy in the second quarter ended the longest recession since the euro was established in 1999.

GDP expands by 0.3 per cent in second quarter, marking end of downturn

Central Bank figures show the decline in household debt in the first three months of the year was partly outstripped by a decrease in disposable income. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Decline comes despite continued fall in household debt to lowest level since 2006

Household debt is now at  its lowest level since the end of 2006. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/THE
IRISH TIMES

Household debt stands at €37,572 per capita, its lowest level since the end of 2006

From a short-term Irish perspective, tomorrow’s numbers from the Grand Duchy will give an indication as to whether demand for goods and services exports will recover, but they will not tell us anything about the domestic economy.

Analysis: GDP figures due tomorrow may confirm the European economy has grown between the first and second quarters

The State
Ireland
’s executive structures are like a Ford Model T car navigating a modern motorway. Crashes are inevitable.

Bottom-up pressure for reform is indispensable

Shipping containers are stacked at Dublin port in Dublin. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Numbers suggest effects on manufacturing sector of international slump may be waning

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: Tax returns in July were 3 per cent lower than forecast

Government budget goals remain broadly on track over first seven months of 2013

Two of the most influential people on the Economic Management Council are Andrew McDowell (above), chief economic adviser on the Fine Gael side, and Colm O’Riordan, his counterpart for Labour.

Criticism of Cabinet council is misplaced

Yesterday’s figures from the Cental Bank show that households have collectively paid off a massive (net) €40 billion in debt over the past half decade, while adding around €8 billion to the aggregate amount they have sitting in bank accounts over the same five-year period.

Raft of new figures give little reason for optimism about recovery

New figures from the Central Bank point to continued weakness in the banking sector and very limited progress in improving credit provision for the economy.

Credit provision to businesses hits new post-crash low

Retail spending weakened further in June, new data showed today.

Despite a continued gradual improvement in the labour market, consumers are spending less

Adjustment of €5.1 billion for 2014-15 is ‘necessary to maintain confidence of lenders’

Irish taxpayers on average still have less taken from their incomes by the State than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe

Social insurance contributions are very low here compared to the average in the euro zone

Manufacturing companies made up under 6 per cent of all enterprises  in 2011, excluding food and beverage producers. Photograph: Getty Images

CSO figures show a decline of 6,000 firms in 2011 compared to the year before

Committee member Richard Boyd Barrett contested Mr Saint-Amans’s view that Ireland was not a tax haven

Pascal Saint-Amans makes comments in the wake of UK and US accusations about multinationals Irish tax situation

For the first time since crash five years ago prices were higher than a year earlier

The morning rush hour on the M1 motorway near the Dublin Port Tunnel.

Downsides are many but debt issue is crucial

 Irish emigrants in 1851  pay their passage money at the emigration agents’ office in Cork before setting off for America. One  factor  likely to explain the weakness of indigenous industry is depopulation from the 1840s to the 1960s. Photograph: HultonArchive/Illustrated London News

It is about time we started asking why more people don’t start their own businesses

Recovery, delayed adjustment or stagnation

Prof John FitzGerald of the ESRI noted that as education levels are much higher now than in the 1980s and 1990s, the last time unemployment was high, joblessness should fall more quickly when recovery kicks in. Photograph: Alan Betson

Think tank’s medium-term report urges Government to proceed with €3.1 billion cuts-and-taxes plan

From left: Kevin Timoney, Thomas Conefrey and John FitzGerald, authors  of the Economic and Social Research Institute’s medium-term review. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Analysis: despite incisive work, the think tank can get it wrong; and its latest report is sadly lacking

“The notion that an orderly and low-cost liquidation of Anglo could have happened in the Irish context just weeks after the collapse of Lehman is a fantasy.”  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Colin Murphy’s production ‘Guaranteed’ does a brilliant job of challenging the consensus about the events of September 2008

While Ireland’s economy remains stagnant, Europe is showing some signs of life

Cyprus’s president, Nicos Anastasiades, talks to Taoiseach Enda Kenny during the recent EU summit in Brussels, at which youth unemployment was top of the agenda. Photograph: François Lenoir/Reuters

Analysis: The best thing the Government could do for the young would be to end the public-sector hiring freeze

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the performance of corporation tax is impressive and the performance of income tax reflects the improvement in employment levels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Tax and spending figures remain broadly on track despite economy’s weakness

Economic growth is now looking weaker than  had been expected when plans for   Budget 2013 were drawn up. Photograph: Eric Luke

Analysis: A small budgetary buffer provides relief in the Department of Finance

Gross domestic product, the widest measure of economic activity, contracted by 0.6 per cent between January and March, compared to the previous three-month period on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Fall in consumer spending on the previous quarter is largest on record

Computer services exports – the biggest services export – stood at €9.4 billion in the first quarter. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Figures for balance of payments show rebalancing of economy continues

Spending by consumers registered its biggest ever quarterly contraction in the January-March period, exceeding even the falls during the worst of the downturn in 2008-09

New figures on economic activity show no sign of recovery

“We Irish have a habit of arriving at a consensus and then closing down debate. Unfortunately, ‘the bank guarantee cost us €64 billion’ narrative has become one such consensus.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Questions about Anglo remain in the sorry saga of Ireland’s banking collapse

Most measures of economic activity contracted in first quarter of 2013, CSO figures show

Bundesbank deputy president Sabine Lautenschläger indicated the German central bank’s opposition to any European recapitalisation of Irish banks stemming from losses on property assets yesterday in Dublin.  Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Irish officials in bilateral talks with key states in Brussels ahead of bank resolution summit

Economist John FitzGerald and Dr Alan Ahearne of National University of Ireland Galway. Photo: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Former advisor to Brian Lenihan says people on low-interest loans are being subsidised by those who aren’t

Ireland’s low tax revenues are a result of low taxes on less well off, according to new study

If the eurozone’s banking union plan is, at best, half baked, the ongoing disunion of the euro area banking system is devastating for the real economy.

Ireland’s EU position stronger, but big risks remain

Yesterday, the US 10-year [bond] rose above the 2.4 per cent threshold for the first time in two years. The equivalent German bond has gone from 1.2 per cent in early May to close to 1.7 per cent, a six-month high.

A widespread rise in governments’ bond yields puts Ireland’s bailout exit at risk

Pharmaceuticals sector is in a period of flux as blockbuster drugs reach the end of their period of exclusivity

Setting up the National Pension Reserve Fund was one of  Charlie McCreevy’s  better decisions as minister for finance. Photograph: Frank Miller

Analysis: closing the deficit means contractionary stance must continue

At the start: Valéry Giscard D’Estaing, Helmut Schmidt and Jimmy Carter at a G7 summit in 1978. Photograph: Keystone France/Gamma/Getty

The still-powerful club was founded as a response to the economic crisis of the 1970s

High security: razor wire near Lough Erne, in advance of the G8 leaders’ arrival. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA
The power of eight

The G8 economic club is losing influence in a fast-changing world. But next week’s summit at Lough Erne, in Co Fermanagh, is still(...)

Rate of immigration to Ireland remains above the broader OECD average

As with economic growth, forecasting with any precession the property market is impossible

The issues the IPA highlighted two years ago as being most urgently in need of reform are being addressed “to varying degrees”.

New report finds much remains to be done in moderning central and local government

Obamacare, which reactionaries in the United States see as socialist, will in fact give Americans better health treatment as well as lowering costs.

Some sectors require more involvement by the state and some sectors less

Meaningful checks on those yielding power are needed

Economists say  the collapse of the property market since 2007 may have led house prices to undershoot fair values. In a research technical paper, they state that prices “are back to levels consistent with or below long-run equilibrium values”.

Study says house prices may be below fair values

Tax revenues in the first five months of the year were slightly ahead of Government expectations. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Deficit narrows in first five months of 2013 ; spending broadly in line with projections

Recession has not led to cuts accordiing to central bank study

Prices have been broadly stable since the  precipitous 50 per cent decline in   the five years to early 2012. Photograph: Frank Miller

Property market continues year-long period of broad price stability

Property prices across the State rose in April but were 1.2 per cent lower than in the same month in 2012. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

CSO data shows houses in capital worth 1.3% more than in April 2012 as prices up nationally by 0.8% in April

Former attorney general Peter Sutherland said the 1987 Crotty judgmenthas forced successive Irish governments to take “extreme minimalist” positions in negotiations on EU treaty changes. Photograph:  Frank Miller

Former attorney general says decisions on EU treaty change contravene Constitution

A car set on fire  following riots in the Stockholm suburb of Kista May 21st, 2013. Photograph: Reuters

We have a long history of sidelining those who dissent from the consensus in order to close down debate on important issues

The social welfare office on Bishop Street, Dublin. The fact that much of the increase in employment is accounted for by part-timers has been disparaged by many, and for those who need more hours it is plainly unsatisfactory, but keeping people working in any form is important. Photograph: Frank Miller

Things were looking disastrous but recent job boost is great relief

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton: “We inherited an economy which was losing 90,000 jobs a year, but we are now seeing that the plan which we put in place is having an impact.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Most of 7,700 jobs added to economy in first three months of year part-time rather than full-time

The number of men out of work fell by 28,200 to 186,900 over the year to the end of March, while the number of women unemployed fell by 1,700. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

ISME describes situation as ’chronic’ despite 20,500 increase in numbers working

The EU commission was equally blunt in relation to spending overruns in the health service, saying expenditure should be contained.

It also took issue with the “dysfunctional features of the institutional mortgage landscape

This new tax might be fair, but it won’t contribute much to the State’s coffers

Future rises in the rate of tax on homes is unlikely if global trends are followed here

Ajai Chopra: said the euro zone’s bailout fund should not be used to deal with “legacy” banking debts. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Ajai Chopra sets out the case for ambitious deepening of the euro zone

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan yesterday: “Permanent debt relief is not something that can be offered to all”. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Central banker urges financial institutions to tackle ‘non-performing mortgage debt’

Apple chief executive Tim Cook, centre, appears before a Senate investigations subcommittee hearing on offshore profit shifting. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

Given the importance of the sector to the Irish economy, the Government needs to be proactive in facing down threats

Half of property market professionals and experts surveyed say residential proprty prices will fall in 2013. Photo: Alan Betson

Over three years most experts expect prices to recover modestly

Rising number of bad loans is one of the main challenges says Central Bank Report

An anti-EU polemic by a former Eurocrat is flawed by its shrillness of tone

In the first three months of the year exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products fell by more than 11 per cent on the same period in 2012

Chemical and pharmaceutical exports continue to suffer

In Ireland, as in most European countries, the banking system is the most important conduit for channelling money from savers to investors. If the most important part of the financial system is impaired, under-investment follows, leading in turn to sub-par economic growth

Lack of lending is hindering recovery but debate on attitudes to enterprise is needed

The report by the Brussels-based Bruegal thinktank argues that in hindsight Greek sovereign debt should have been written down at the outset

Ireland’s bailout has been a success, Portugal’s a “potential” success and Greece’s a failure

Income distribution among Irish households was ‘more equal than the average in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2010’

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development publishes report

Unemployment, housing and poverty: all areas where younger people have been hit harder.

Study finds younger people worst afflicted by unemployment, mortgage debt and negative equity up to 2010

It is clear that European companies are driving the globalisation process, not being overwhelmed by it
, as narratives of Europe’s decline might lead one to believe

Investors too positive in good times and too negative in bad

Imbalances in the euro zone need action from the core as well as the periphery

Department of Finance figures show the total tax take in the year to date is almost exactly as planned, standing at just under €11 billion.

Total tax take for 2013 almost exactly as forecast

30/4/2013.  - FINANCE -Patrick Honohan, Governor at the Central Bank of Ireland, Annual Report 2012.Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

However budget forecast involves a lot of variables

Filling out a census form. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The biggest single change to population projections is the return of the old scourge of emigration

Michael Noonan, Minister for Finanace. Photograph: Alan Betson

The stability pact update (SPU) contains some of the most detailed budgetary information published by the Government

Department of Finance release first formal projections for spending and tax revenues beyond 2015

Research shows that the relationship between a company’s age and its employment creation is consistent. Photograph: Reuters

The age of companies, not their size, determines employment growth rate

By almost every measure and in most countries, life is getting better in Africa

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