‘There would be huge financial risks for private companies in buying and storing gas this summer . . . Individual governments or the EU itself would be better able to carry the risk, so they should undertake any advance gas storage.’ Photograph: Koen Van Weel/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

It might be in our interests to rent gas storage in Germany to hedge against price rises

Dover Port: Small British exporters have given up on the EU market because the new obstacles to doing trade in the wake of Brexit are too great.

War and Covid disguise many self-inflicted trade blows sustained in exiting EU

Without a co-ordinated  EU response, gas prices will rise to exceptional levels as countries like Norway, and UK North Sea producers, have a queue of firms at their door pleading for supplies at any price.

Member states must co-operate to cut usage and help Germany replenish its stockpiles

Across Europe and North America, house prices are rising rapidly, fuelled by bumper pandemic savings levels. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

State needs simpler, speedier planning for good quality housing without inflating costs

A modular housing unit in a demonstration project launched by Dublin local authorities in 2015. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Increased supply is only answer to housing crisis as rent controls create problems

Owen Keegan: set out his vision to manage Dublin city traffic. This involves restricting road space for cars in the city centre, by reallocating it to cyclists. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Charges reduce traffic levels, speed up bus journeys and make a city more liveable

An initial effect of the war in Ukraine has been  to dramatically raise the price of energy, reflecting a big reduction in world oil and gas supply as Russia was sanctioned

War in Ukraine adds to inflationary pressure as economies recover from pandemic

Energy market turmoil  highlights renewable electricity as the cheap and secure option for consumers. The rise in fossil fuel prices strengthens the incentive to switch to greener electricity.

EU policy needs to ensure setback caused by current crisis does not become permanent

One of the lessons of the more severe  oil crisis in the 1970s is that there is no way of disguising the hit to our incomes from a major energy price shock. Photograph: Alan Betson

Role of government not to try stop inevitable, but to protect vulnerable against high prices

Due to the very high energy prices which have resulted from the war in Ukraine, suppliers of oil and gas are the beneficiaries of the disruption

John FitzGerald: Governments may have to underwrite investment to secure gas supplies

We still have a way to go to tackle barriers to women’s participation at work, particularly availability and affordability of childcare. Photograph: iStock

Our female labour-force participation rates are below those elsewhere in northern Europe

Ireland and the EU as a whole need to take the security of gas supplies more seriously as the Russian invasion of Ukraine highlights vulnerabilities. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

All EU states need to take security of gas supplies more seriously in the future

Incomes in Derry are below the average for Northern Ireland, and it has a higher proportion of its population in poverty. Photograph: iStock

For years the city has suffered from significant economic and social disabilities

Demand has risen fast but supply is lagging as a result of the pandemic slump and the resulting dislocation of supply chains. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Rates may stabilise above pre-pandemic level in coming decade as climate change challenge looms

Then and now: Economic issues had barely featured in the bitter political debate around the Treaty, where the focus was on the nature of sovereignty and symbol of the Crown.

Following early economic policy missteps, solid decisions have paid off handsomely

Boeing and Airbus have got subsidies over the years, without any regard to the impact of air travel on climate change. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

No government wants to turn the clock back to 19th-century living standards

Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 building. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

John FitzGerald: Ireland needs to recover air routes mothballed by Covid or risk impact on investment

The demand for real trees is moderately sensitive to price – a 1 per cent price rise leads to a 0.7 per cent fall in demand

John FitzGerald: Predictions of pandemic-related supply crunch prove unfounded

The recovery in VAT revenues reflects the very high savings rate due to lockdowns beginning to return to more normal levels. Consumption has surged since the summer.  Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Once economy reaches capacity, Government’s job will be to contain demand

Dame Street 1921: No attention was paid in the treaty debates to the clause that provided acceptance by our government of a share of the UK national debt, which came to roughly 80 per cent of Irish national income.

Despite scant attention to finance, fledgling State secured two great deals with London

Wind turbines at the Arklow Bank wind park.

Fixed-charged billing makes sense but provision needs to be made for less well off

Brexit is the most probable explanation for the UK’s worse-than-average fall in output, though the immediate impact of Brexit was  disguised by the massive disruption due to the pandemic.  Photograph: Getty Images

Triggering article 16 over NI protocol would likely choke back UK growth even further

Ireland has plenty of potential to build back the forestry we lost to shipbuilding and barrel staves in the 17th century.  Photograph: Alan Betson

State needs to look to trees and their rich capacity to offset fossil fuel emissions

The latest proposal to control the rise in rents may have very serious long-term ramifications for those who will continue to depend on the rental market. Photograph: iStock

Rent control risks inhibiting housing supply over the long term

Subsidies are likely to be needed to drive the necessary action in areas like retrofitting our housing stock, accelerated write-off of fossil-fuel cars and in some sectors of industry. Photograph: Alan Betson

Key work falls to individuals and companies but State must carry bulk of financial burden

The European Union civil protection mechanism, put in place in 2001, provides an important framework for co-operation to tackle such disasters within the EU

With extreme events predicted to become more frequent we need to build up responses

For a Government half-way through its term of office, tightening fiscal policy in all our interests may be difficult to achieve.

If our economy continues on its present course, it will reach capacity next year

Dense development occurred where the  Luas Green line was being constructed, substantially improving the payback to society and reducing emissions. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Getting value for money from NDP projects requires regular assessment and flexibility

The tax regime  needs to encourage acceleration of the move to EVs. Photograph: iStock

Budget is key policy tool to drive emissions reduction across a range of sectors

If Europe were to invest in more liquefied natural gas storage, it could source and store additional natural gas from outside Europe. Photograph: iStock

Failure to invest in gas buffer capacity has left Ireland’s electricity supply vulnerable

When Telecom Éireann (Eir) was privatised, the new owners borrowed heavily, reducing shareholder capital so that, ultimately, they couldn’t finance new investment

Capital structure of State-owned utilities is important if they are to expand vital services

By 2016 about 20%  of students had a part-time job,  well below the pre-2008 peak. Photograph: iStock

From part-time gigs to summer jobs - students’ work patterns have changed

  While the plan recognises that  increasing housebuilding will require almost 30,000 more skilled workers, it hasn’t factored in the additional competing demand for such labour that will come from the Government’s  plan to tackle climate change. Photograph: Alan Betson

John FitzGerald: Delivery will be the only true measure of success for new plan

A wood engraving published in Harper’s Weekly in September 1874 illustrates emigrants leaving Cobh (then called Queenstown) for New York.

Current slowdown in migration flows could have a longer-term influence on behaviour

To tackle climate change effectively, the world must invest in new technologies, such as renewable energy. File photograph: Getty

Governments worldwide need to level with voters on price of averting looming disaster

‘It would make sense, and potentially save many lives, to invest in advance manufacturing capacity.’ Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

John FitzGerald: Investment in advance manufacturing would enable cheaper and faster responses

The main change in planned Government expenditure is due to an increased provision for investment in housing. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Taxes will need to rise to meet challenges of demographics and climate change

Grafton Street in January 2021: The current account of the balance of payments  has always been a crucial indicator of dangerous imbalances growing in the domestic economy. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

John FitzGerald: Unexplained surplus on balance of payments needs more study

John FitzGerald

A new work by John FitzGerald

When the UK government finally began to ease rationing in 1949, it ran into serious problems. Photograph: iStock

Moving from universal curbs to those that exclude only some must be carefully handled

Research suggests that over the last 50 years Irish people have been happy to work  for 5 per cent  or 10 per cent less after tax than they could get in the UK. Photograph: iStock

Research suggests Irish people are happy to work here for up to 10% less than UK pay rates

The limited supply of second-hand electric cars with right-hand drive may slow the process of electrifying our car fleet. Photograph: iStock

John FitzGerald: Adopting Norway’s model could help drive climate change strategy

‘Given the exceptionally slow response of Ireland’s housing supply, there must be a real concern that house prices will surge here over the next 18 months.’ Photograph: iStock

Government should stop throwing petrol on the flames by giving more money to buyers

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance. A great benefit of Ireland’s current tax regime is it has given firms certainty. Thus, we need the outcome to the international tax debate to be something which is seen as a permanent and fair settlement.   Photograph:  Alberto Pezzali - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Being seen as a tax haven has been damaging to Ireland’s reputation

When the UK was an EU member, the euro zone only covered just over 70% of the EU economy; today it constitutes 85%.

Policy gaps remain, including weak systems for co-ordinated fiscal response to any crisis

If property tax is used to fund the expansion of public services over the coming decade, especially investment in housing, it might be desirable to change the base to exclude mortgage debt.

Levies on housing are hard to evade and avoid hitting those not on property ladder

At current support levels, the rollout of electric cars could cost the Government €10 billion by 2030, Ifac estimates. Photograph: Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters

Huge challenges lie ahead if we are to deliver public services as promised

Climate change is a policy challenge unlike most others, because success will require a global effort. Photograph: Getty Images

Common feature of all proposals is a substantial tax on emissions from fossil fuels

In a world where the number of publications is an indicator of your value, women researchers are penalised for any time spent out of the workforce to have children or engage in care duties.

Stateside dominance poses a risk that US perspectives prevail in academic literature

The wind farm at Bruckana on the Laois, Kilkenny and Tipperary borders. For Ireland, electricity was the one area where we made major progress in reducing emissions. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Revenue in any EU-wide permit scheme ought to accrue to national governments

Clery’s interior: From 1946 when the rationing eased, there was a consumer boom as people bought the things that they had missed out on over the previous six years.

There was a spending splurge after 1945 as people purchased clothes and travelled

Covid-19 vaccines: In recent years, policy in the US has moved against relying on foreign supply of key products such as pharmaceuticals.  Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

John FitzGerald: Integrated nature of drug sector’s supply chains cannot be unwound

US president Joe Biden: returning to OECD negotiations on tax while also changing US system. Photograph: Andrew Harnik

Shift in Biden policy on offshore firms could be minor gain for US but huge hit for Ireland

Over the last 20 years, national income per head has grown faster here than in the UK, and is now about 10 per cent higher than across the water. Photograph: iStock

John FitzGerald: Premium for graduates working in Ireland, relative to Britain, varies by sector

When we are freed from our confinement at home, there is likely to be a temporary surge in consumption, but any upward pressure on prices will also be temporary. Photograph: iStock

Globalisation and changed economic structures have helped keep inflation under control

Holidays to the sun will be one destination for Irish savers post-vaccination. Photograph: iStock

John FitzGerald: Higher taxation will be needed once excess savings are depleted

Employers will need to signal well in advance when a full return to “normal” working is expected, especially for those who need to return to within commuting distance of the office.

Move away from remote working will push up housing demand and carbon emissions

Freight at Dublin Port. Photograph: Alan Betson

The threat of tariffs and border controls on this island hasn’t gone away

Too often advocates for individual projects emphasise the jobs they will generate rather than the good or service produced. Photograph: iStock

John FitzGerald: The headline number for new positions often greatly exaggerates the benefits to society

If the economy were to return to full employment by 2023,  it would be necessary immediately to return to balancing the books

John FitzGerald: The more rapid the recovery, the sooner normal fiscal rules apply

The port of Larne. The UK will progressively impose customs and other checks on exports to Brittain over the next few months. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

John FitzGerald: A firm opening a branch in NI would be able to service Britain and the EU

A Swedish study confirmed that fluoridation of water produces a substantial improvement in dental health. File photograph: iStock

Impact of Covid on education of a generation will be closely studied for years

Unless the more polluting choice becomes the more expensive choice, we  have little incentive to change our ways. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland, North and South, would benefit by copying best British policies

It is now often easier to import directly from the EU rather than trans-shipping via the UK. Photograph: iStock

It will now be easier to import direct from the EU than via the UK, but the cost is significant

A deserted Grafton Street in Dublin  during lockdown. The surge in Covid cases  means that the serious lockdown will persist for some time to come

The issue of how rules are adjusted to take account of increasing numbers of people who are vaccinated will raise difficult choice(...)

We see companies keen, among other things, to buy renewable energy or signing up to certification schemes. These actions go beyond the traditional concentration on short-term profitability. Photographs: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

John FitzGerald: It is increasingly important for firms to be seen as responsible citizens

A ship at Dublin Port. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Manufacturing, services and food likely to have very different outcomes in the long run

Up to now, the Irish regulatory bodies have encouraged consumers to move supplier as the antidote to differential prices charged to stayers and movers. Photograph: iStock

Consumers struggle to make good decisions when choices are too many or too complex

Not surprisingly multinationals account for half of the growth coming from manufacturing, but they account for only half of the contribution to growth from the IT sector. This latter finding is striking as we know about the importance of firms like Google and Facebook, but we hear much less about the domestic firms which are also playing an important role. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP

CSO works hard to get accurate picture, but reading the runes still a big ask

If  cattle spend a month grazing on Co Fermanagh grass, would they become UK “citizens”, entitled to enter Britain tariff-free?   Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

John FitzGerald: Deal would be prime opportunity to sell Northern Ireland as a good place for British exporters to do business

Larger, more regionally diversified banks can generally raise capital at a lower cost than smaller banks concentrated in one market or market segment. Photograph: iStock

Euro-wide banks could reduce the cost of borrowing in Ireland

The imminent arrival of vaccines holds out the prospect that the pandemic may be brought fully under control in the developed world by the end of next year. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty   Images

Build up of household savings likely to herald major spending increase once conditions permit

US president-elect Joe Biden . Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Personal income in US is forecast to fall 4% in 2021 even without further lockdowns

‘Whatever the marvels of technology, you can’t hug over Skype or Zoom.’ Photograph: iStock

Almost half of Irish adults aged below the mid-30s have lived abroad for at least a year

M50 on the first day of Level 5 lockdown. Photograph:  Crispin Rodwell

Forcing auto industry to lower emissions key to reaching EU carbon targets

A street in Belfast: In its current form, the Northern Ireland economy would be exceptionally challenging to merge into any united Ireland. Photograph: Mark Marlow

Northern Ireland requires deep economic and social change before any referendum

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath outside Government Buildings in Dublin on Tuesday, budget day. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

VAT cut for hospitality and help for first-time buyers ‘wasteful or ineffective’

The worst-case scenario, where a vaccine does not become available next year, has not been considered. This would have very serious implications for  public health policy and the economy.

John FitzGerald: By late 2021, excess savings will hit €20bn or 20% of total consumption

Reducing transport emissions may be complicated by Brexit. A lot of “dirty” cars bought in the Republic come second-hand from the UK.

People, firms and farmers need incentives to modify transport and heating behaviour

Since 2018, more than 620 appeals against planting or harvesting trees have been taken. Photograph: Serdar Yorulmaz/iStock

John FitzGerald: Licensing system cripples planting efforts and inhibits climate efforts

Joe Biden with Enda Kenny at Government Buildings in 2016. Biden has already established that his great-grandfather came from Louth and his great-great-great grandfather from Mayo. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Biden would be latest president to claim Irish heritage but influence may be on wane

The export sector has held up despite Covid-19.

Ireland’s tradeable sector is mainly untouched by crisis and will drive recovery

‘The dismal economic outturn has nothing to do with unwise behaviour by consumers or governments. It is due to the pandemic.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John FitzGerald: Covid-19 vaccine could rapidly boost consumer confidence

Comparing Finland and Ireland’s experience of crash and recovery indicates an independent exchange rate is not an automatic  cure. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Recovery can be driven by outward-looking economies with educated workforces

East and west German citizens celebrate as they climb the Berlin wall at the Brandenburg gate after the opening of the east German border was announced. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/ Reuters

The experience of German integration holds lessons for Ireland

A much more effective way of supporting cycling than financing the cycle-to-work scheme would be to spend the money on bike parks at commuter stations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John FitzGerald: Expansion of help-to-buy and bike-to-work schemes are poor uses of funds

Grafton Street: If an effective vaccine is developed over the coming 18 months and the economy can be taken out of cold storage, some lost ground of 2020 may be made up. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

John FitzGerald: Government faces obstacles to boosting housing supply amid pandemic

Pascal Saint-Amans of the OECD, who is leading a global initiative on tax reform.  Photograph: Conor Mulhern

John FitzGerald: Supporting OECD on taxing digital giants could be a small price to pay

Irish Water: the obvious solution to funding shortfalls is metering but this is unlikely to happen for quite some time

Utility differs from energy sector in that it has no power to ensure it is financed

The Cabinet comes with many changes to departments and these may alter the traditional roles of secretary-generals. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

Specific management focus might beat generalism in serving portfolio recalibration

CSO data published on Tuesday shows that the income of 80% of households has not fallen due to the Covid-19 crisis. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

John FitzGerald: Fiscal stimulus to encourage consumption this summer is doomed to failure

Changing legal systems to outlaw gender discrimination is just a starting point. Changing what happens on the ground is a much bigger challenge. Photograph: UIG via Getty Images

Women enjoy three-quarters of the legal rights of men, study shows

The exceptional decline in the EU economy has made it necessary to relax the rules, with Lufthansa accessing €9 billion in state aid. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP

Brussels has to formulate state assistance framework with clear principles of fairness

The emerging German tax proposal is very different from the 2011 one, responding to many problems identified with the original version. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall

Financial transaction fee may be ‘pawn’ to help protect Ireland’s corporation tax regime

Because of Dublin’s low density, buses have a key role to play in keeping the city moving. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

John FitzGerald: Good public transport improves quality of life and lowers greenhouse gases

A deserted Grafton Street during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as continuing assistance to business will be required in the recovery period, a more fine-tuned approach is necessary

John FitzGerald: SME support conditional on reaching deal with landlord to cut rent

Much of the new debt being issued by the Government will end up being bought by the ECB. File photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

John FitzGerald: Borrowing is an appropriate response to pandemic for several reasons

‘By 2022 there is likely to be an exceptional rise in expenditure on the things we can’t spend on today.’ File photo. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

By the end of this year households will have up to €15bn extra in their bank accounts

While the Covid-19 lockdown may reduce this year’s emissions by over 5 per cent, as the economy re-opens there will be an inevitable rebound, and much of these gains reversed

Delay means more expensive to get to net zero emissions by 2050

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