Many have remarked on the negative effects of Ireland’s high price level on our economy. Intrepid Irish Times reporter Orna Mulcahy notes a new and hitherto unreported effect of our lack of price competitiveness and issues a call to economic patriotism:
At the hairdressers they’ve spotted a new trend – customers with homes abroad who have decided to decamp there for most of the summer, rather than the usual two or three weeks.
The word is that it’s cheaper and cheerier to be there – in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy or wherever, than it is to be at home, even if the husband has to commute. Some will only return the day before school begins again, which means that a good chunk of the salon’s cut and colour business is gone for the summer.
This flight of the earners means that their considerable spending power will be exercised abroad rather than at home – a place that’s increasingly seen as downbeat and depressing. This week’s disastrous unemployment figures, and comments that the economy is “banjaxed” (David Begg) and “brutal” (Ibec) may have speeded them on their way.
Paying for a blow-dry and booking another makes me feel positively patriotic.
Moving beyond the economic difficulties of those with second homes in Portugal and Spain, Orna also reports the disturbing problem of a reduction in the selection of Tea Time Express cakes at the Merrion Centre near Ballsbridge. On a more positive note, in today’s feel-good news story, the Spice burger has been saved.