In her own words


Industrial strategy:

There has never been a period like this . . . all of this is spectacular from an Irish point of view, but we can't stand still, we have to be conscious of our competitiveness. We have to go for more knowledge-intensive industries rather than labour-intensive industries. We have to try and get the companies that are here to deepen their roots.


We want a larger number of smaller projects into the regions rather than isolated big projects like Fruit of the Loom or Seagate in Clonmel. Because when those industries are in difficulty and they have to do what Fruit of the Loom has done, the devastation is just enormous and it's very hard for a small area to sustain it. Areas become too dependent on one single sector.


I take the view that nowhere in Ireland should be far from the centre. Some of the companies I go to, say in Illinois, would be as far from Chicago as Donegal is from Dublin but you can get there in less than an hour because there is a good motorway. It would be terrific in Ireland if we had motorways to Donegal, to Cork, to all the various regions . . . it is as important as paying the national debt.

Skills shortages:

We are suffering from a skills shortage in some sectors. It is not even at a very high-skills level - it's often at a quite a low-skills level. Some of it could be addressed, perhaps, by different immigration policies. I think we need to have a healthier attitude to that.