Fintan O’Toole on stability and change


Sir, – Fintan O’Toole asks “for how many of its 93 years of existence has this State been economically successful?” (“Stability can only come from radical change”, Opinion & Analysis, March 24th). I would suggest that in terms of delivering sustained prosperity, Ireland has been a serial underachiever for many decades.

Failure to reach our potential is due to our chronic inability to develop internationally competitive indigenous businesses on a sufficient scale to drive economic development. The result is that we lack a critical mass of citizens who, either through political activism or how they cast their votes, are intolerant of lobbies and rent-seeking. These activities, which promote redistribution at the expense of development, are so deeply ingrained into our national psyche that even our recent loss of economic sovereignty has not sparked fundamental institutional reform. Without this, performance over the next number of decades will surely be “wobbly”! – Yours, etc,


Senior Lecturer,

School of Economics,

University College Cork.