Kenmare DEW October 2011 Conference

Dublin Economics Workshop – Kenmare 2011

Annual Economic Policy Conference

 October 14th to 16th



 The organisers of Kenmare 2011 are interested in receiving proposals for policy-oriented papers in the following areas (please suggest further topics if you wish):


The Fiscal Challenge in Ireland

The Banking Crisis

The European Response 

What Happened to Competition Policy?

Pensions Reform

 We will also have a special session this year focused on the work of young(er) researchers. We would like to invite researchers under the age of 35 to submit papers on economic policy issues with the best four papers to be presented at the conference this year. The best paper will be awarded a prize of €500 while the other presented papers will be awarded prizes of €250.  The conference fees and accommodation expenses of one author per paper will also be waived.


An initial expression of interest (whether over or under 35!) including title of paper and a short abstract, should be made to Sean Barrett, Robert Watt, Colin Hunt, or Colm McCarthy by June 30th. 

Leogate and Green Jersey Economics

Throughout Ireland’s economic crisis, our government has adopted policies based on overly optimistic assumptions. The language of corners turned, manageable problems and final estimates has dominated communication of these policies. And throughout this period, the approach of the Serious People in Leinster House and at institutions such as the Irish Times has been to attack those who question these overly optimistic assumptions as unpatriotic folk who are talking the economy down.

Against that background, this green jersey editorial from the Irish Times on Leo Varadkar’s comments is deeply depressing. It adopts Michael Martin’s ridiculous line about “loose talk costing jobs” as if serious businessmen thinking about creating jobs were not already aware of the likelihood of a further EU-IMF deal for Ireland. It makes claims about sovereign bond markets that serve to illustrate that the writer clearly doesn’t understand these markets. If Leo’s comments created “doubt and uncertainty in financial markets among those that most matter, the bond investors from whom the State hopes to borrow again next year” then how come sovereign bond yields didn’t budge?

Then we get this gem:

As the euro zone debt crisis has unfolded, Ireland has lost credibility and sustained major reputational damage at various levels – government, public service, banking and business – which the Fine Gael Labour Government is attempting to regain and restore. This was best exemplified last November when talks about an EU-IMF bailout were under consideration while Fianna Fáil ministers issued public denials. It will take some time to re-establish trust in what governments say and confidence they can deliver on commitments made.

So Fianna Fail lost credibility by lying about the scale of our problems and ultimately denying things that everyone knew were true. And the IT’s reaction to this loss of credibility is to condemn a minister who makes a statement everyone knows to be true and to encourage the government to repeat a mantra about “no second deal” that will, in time, be just as discredited as the previous government’s approach.

The Irish Times may not wish to hear government ministers admitting that, despite best efforts, we may not be able to get back to the bond market. However, the “everything’s going to be fine” approach runs the risk of being exposed as just as false as the corner-turning rhetoric of the previous government. And it hardly helps with negotiating better terms on the current deal.