A Call to Economic Patriotism

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.

12 replies on “A Call to Economic Patriotism”

Typical Irish Times claptrap. The paper of record never checks a statistic. CSO figures show a massive drop in the number of Irish people going abroad this year. Down by 10.5% or by 248,100 in the first four months of 2009. This week’s unemployment figures weren’t disastrous, they show a rapid slowdown in the rate of increase, while on continental Europe the rate of increase is accelerating. If someone is clinically depressed reading about unemployment, I really can’t see that a trip to Spain will do them much good, as Spain’s unemployment rate is almost twice Ireland’s. As for ‘depressing news’, that’s rich coming from the Irish Times, since that newspaper knows no other type.

@ Karl I never, ever, ever, would have dreamed that ‘hairdressing’ would be a tag on the Irish Economy blog, so well done for being so thoroughly surprising.

@ John What’s even more surprising is the popularity of the spice burger article on the Times site–it’s way more popular than Morgan Kelly’s article today.

Is this the level of economic journalism that the IT has plumbed new depths to? Streuth! However, I’ve just come back from 3 weeks at my place in Carcassonne and it was a lot cheaper to live day to day there so there is some level of ‘accuracy’ in the article …..trying to be ‘balanced’ 😉

@ John – – 10.5% is a “massive drop”?

The stats are in respect of Irish residents and not just “Irish.” So the drop in the migrant worker population, for example, would have had an impact on the number of home trips made.

Apart from some of the idiots who took out mortgages on second homes, the rest are likely to be the ones who can afford to travel.

As to the unemployment figures not being “disastrous,” it brings to mind Harry Truman’s distinction between a depression and recession.

Losing the equivalent of what would be regarded in Ireland as the equivalent of a big manufacturing plant, every workday is disastrous!

Just got back from holidays in Lake Garda in Italy. Again much cheaper to eat out, grocery shop and all the rest.

I agree though it is a fairly daft piece, can’t see the number of people doing this to be remotely significant. Our big issue is always going to be the UK & Northern Ireland. Sterling is strengtening at the moment versus the Euro so the effect is reducing. Not sure why Sterling is strengthening mind you so it might reverse.

The issue of our high prices does seem to be valid if not the outcome predicted in the article. There does though seem to be some readjustment going on in Ireland, particularly in the restaurant sector. Whether they can make the figures work on the lower margin I don’t know.

Not sure what will force the state sector down. In our business we use An Post a great deal. It can actually cost less to send parcels to Norway or Germany than within Ireland!

On the travel figures I do wonder what the effect of the non nationals might be on this. If there are less of them in the country then they will be going home less. I haven’t seen any drop off in my peers holidaying abroad as yet.

“This week’s unemployment figures weren’t disastrous, they show a rapid slowdown in the rate of increase, while on continental Europe the rate of increase is accelerating.”

Ireland’s second derivatives: the envy of Europe, eh John?

Are we about to become a nation of brunettes again?

Internationally, air travel numbers are down… a few months ago, I was in the hq of a few large airlines. passenger numbers down …. up to 20% in one case.

Its not just an Irish thing. I commented on this before wrt to the infrastructure project at Dublin airport, theres no rush lads

People are going to their holiday homes for the full summer instead of weeks here and there. Travel numbers are down… Could these two seemingly totally unrelated facts be in some way connected? Bizarre, whatever next? A connection between bankrupt states and fiscal profligacy?

Frankly I’m bemused that Ms. Mulcahy still has a berth at the Times. She was property booster-in-chief on D’Olier street throughout the boom, when the extent of her journalistic talents was to fawn over the outrageously priced pad of some PR worthy or Z-list celebrity. Now that there’s no further need for such property puff pieces, she’s been re-invented as some sort of scribe to the upper miidle class of South County Dublin, filing dispatches from the trenches bemoaning such mild lifestyle constraints as delayed orthodonic treatment for one’s little dahlings. Very, very lame.

OK lads, calm down. We are suffering from ‘overheat’ – we had a week of warm weather, it is the silly season (Michael Jackson leads the news agenda), etc.

Now, the positives, – hairdressing is still possible……how many have closed? how many hairdressers on the dole? That’s the sort of statistic I want to see, a real measure of the state of affairs.

Off yiz go to the summer house, see yiz in September if ye have kids, if not see ya….

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey came out today, casting further doubt on the credibility of the Irish Times article. Dublin has dropped from 16th to 25th in the list of most expensive cities. Dublin is now cheaper than Paris or Rome, the capitals of two of the countries the Irish Times article alleged people from Ireland were fleeing to in order to escape the high cost of living. Looks like they wasted their time. The survey was carried out in March. Since then, inflation in Ireland has been the lowest in the EU. I think Dublin will struggle to get into the top 50 most expensive cities in 2010.


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