State must put money in consumer pockets, Brosnan says

Former Kerry Group chairman says financing of local economy would help SMEs

Denis Brosnan: “If you worked in a multinational you saw no recession in the past five or six years. If you worked in a small business you’ve either gone out of business or you’re still struggling to survive”

Denis Brosnan: “If you worked in a multinational you saw no recession in the past five or six years. If you worked in a small business you’ve either gone out of business or you’re still struggling to survive”

 

The Government needs to put more money into the pockets of consumers so that SMEs in Ireland can feel the benefit of the economic recovery, former Kerry Group chief executive and chairman Denis Brosnan told members of the North Kildare Chamber yesterday.

Speaking at a breakfast event hosted at the K Club in Straffan, Mr Brosnan, who is now retired, said the effects of austerity measures in Ireland were “going on too long”.

“Obviously the recovery is under way . . . [but] it’s going to be the best part of another five years before people will be able to come out of college and get the job of their dreams,” he said.

Income squeeze

Mr Brosnan said emigration would continue “for quite a number of years yet”. He said the squeeze on incomes over the past six years has been “murdering SMEs”.

Speaking to The Irish Times after the event, Mr Brosnan added: “If you worked in a multinational you saw no recession in the past five or six years. If you worked in a small business, you’ve either gone out of business or you’re still struggling to survive.

“The only way the small business will survive is to have money back in the local economy . . . and to stop taking it out of people’s pockets. More money has to be put back into communities.”

Mr Brosnan, who has been involved in various initiatives to regenerate Limerick and the midwest, said IAG’s proposed takeover of Aer Lingus would be the “right thing” for the Irish airline. “Simply because a small airline will find it very hard to survive into the future,” he added.

On the possible consequence for Shannon Airport, which is seeking assurances from IAG on the Heathrow slots operated by Aer Lingus, Mr Brosnan said: “Shannon, Cork and Dublin [airports] will have to fight their own corner for relevance. Airlines will always fly into a region if there’s business to be done. It’s a matter for the region to ensure that there is business to be done.”

New era

Mr Brosnan is also of the view that a new era awaits Irish dairy farmers with the lifting of EU quotas on milk production. “There’s a golden era for dairy beginning,” he said. “It could last for 10 years.”

He is not concerned that Irish farmers might overextend themselves financially as they expand their operations, or that there’s a risk of a glut in supply in the years ahead.

“Be it the banks or the farmers, they won’t over extend themselves, they’ll be too cautious,” he said.

“Ireland won’t oversupply the market. We’re too small on a world basis . . . we’re only about half a per cent [of the market].”