IT is becoming somewhat tiresome and even a little embarrassing watching Taoiseach Enda Kenny swanning around the annual World Economic Forum at Davos telling anyone who is prepared to listen about what a great little country we are and how fabulous our economic recovery is with annual growth of 7%. At least, this time, he spared us ‘porkies’ like the one he spun in Madrid last year about the possibility of the army having to be called in to guard ATMs!
While Mr Kenny was trying to make himself look good leading into the election, he was taken to task by Nobel prize winner, economist Joseph Stiglitz, over his seemingly-boundless optimism about the future – which was in stark contrast to the general mood of the Davos gathering this year – the Taoiseach said that our economy is now better insulated against outside economic setbacks than it was eight years ago.
That may be the case to a certain extent, but it is naïve of Mr Kenny to be giving the impression that we can weather any international storm when the main plank of our economic growth is exports fuelled by transient external factors such as favourable currency exchange rates, low oil prices and low interest rates.
While we box above our weight at gatherings such as Davos, let’s not get carried away and lose sight of the bigger economic picture, which is not as rosy as our current snapshot in time makes it appear.