Planning the recovery

 

Sir, – Praising Patrick Honohan’s excellent article “The State must deploy full financial strength to ensure recovery” (Opinion & Analysis, July 11th), David McCabe (Letters, July 14th) then argues that civil servants do not have the skills to analyse corporate performance and thus implies Prof Honahan’s prudent advice on bailouts for firms will not work.

He may be correct on civil servants’ skills, but the State does employ skilled financial analysts in the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service section of Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in the IDA, in Enterprise Ireland, in New Era and several other State bodies, as well as excellent financial analysts in commercial State companies such as the ESB.

Some of these could be reassigned to the valuable work of ensuring money is not wasted on too many failures in the rescue of private firms.

Next week’s Government rescue package for firms must be designed so that taxpayers’ money is used efficiently.

Cash grants are not the way to go, as has been rumoured.

Loans, convertible to equity, would be.

If not designed carefully, the rescue package will not just cost billions but could transform Ireland’s economic system to an unsustainable one where the State becomes the risk-taker, incurs the losses, but does not share in profits. Yet again. – Yours, etc,

PAUL SWEENEY,

Milltown,

Dublin 6.