Gilmore forecasts recovery in 2013
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has predicted a “post-recession” Republic will become apparent by the end of 2013, bringing enormous potential for growth to our economy.
Mr Gilmore believes the recession will have ended by 2014 and that the political and economic landscape will alter radically.
As a corollary, those changes would shore up support for the Labour Party in its Coalition with Fine Gael.
“We believe that we are now at a stage where we can start looking forward. We have been mired in economic recession. As we move into 2013, we will be able to look beyond that crisis.
“My parting words to the parliamentary party was when we come back in 2013 we will need to be talking and thinking about what post-recession Ireland will look like. I see enormous potential. The EU presidency absolutely parallels what we are doing, concentrating on jobs and growth and trade,” he said.
In an interview with The Irish Times, Mr Gilmore also contended that some of the group of five TDs and one Senator expelled from the parliamentary party since February 2011 are more comfortable in Opposition than in Government and lack the courage to live with difficult decisions.
He dismissed any suggestion the party has been damaged by the defections, particularly those of party chairman Colm Keaveney and former minister of state Róisín Shortall.
Mr Gilmore said that all members of the party were aware that when the Coalition was agreed in March 2011, Labour was facing a difficult challenge.
Responding to criticism by the defectors, he said: “The Labour Party and I are not going to be deflected from that. In the midst of battle we are not going to have bouts of nervousness and second opinions about that task.”
Asked was he surprised that the party had lost six parliamentarians in 20 months, he replied: “There are some people in the Labour Party who are more comfortable in Opposition than . . . Government.” He said the overwhelming majority of the parliamentary party had the “courage and conviction” to fulfil its mandate.
Mr Gilmore rejected suggestions of any Cabinet reshuffle in the short term, or of him moving from foreign affairs and trade. There have been suggestions that the portfolio was too peripheral and the leader of the smaller party in Government needed an economic ministry. The Tánaiste said he could think of no more central ministry than that of foreign affairs and trade, especially over the next six months during our EU presidency.
Mr Gilmore said the big factor in 2012 in terms of big political developments was the stability treaty referendum.
“People had the opportunity of looking at the alternatives . . . to send the IMF home. They made the decision [to back] the broad strategy we are pursuing.”
The second major development was over bank debt and what he described as the Government’s “determination” to deal with the issue.
He was confident of a deal being struck. “I believe there is going to be a commitment and understanding in Europe that the EU needs a winner to come out of [a bailout] programme. Ireland is the best placed to do that.”