1 euro investment returns 300-400 euro to the exchequer

Peter Cox advocates greater public investment in the heritage sector in this Irish Times article.  There may well be a strong case for extra investment in this sector. Still,  it would be good to see the rigorous analysis behind this remarkable rate of return.  It would also be good to see the cited Quantum Research study that finds that

grants made over the last 10 years have contributed at least two-fold and possibly four-fold to the exchequer in income tax, VAT, employment and buying local and Irish goods

18 replies on “1 euro investment returns 300-400 euro to the exchequer”

Is it possible to definitively measure the “income tax, VAT, employment and buying local and Irish goods” generated by any state investment.

If not, then should we be able to use metrics to assess probability of economic impact falling into a bracket, e.g. strongly positive, positive, neutral, negative, strongly negative?

In the meantime, those seeking fundung are advised to keep repeating that something is positive. Repitition of a bald assertion is often an effective mechanism to shift the burden of proof to those who don’t believe you!

From the article
‘The Coalition, in the budget, further cut the heritage allocation which is now reduced by 84 per cent over the last two years.’

and yet from the same article

‘There has been an impressive rise of 7 per cent in tourist numbers – the first increase in three years.’

Well at the risk of pointing out the bleeding obvious …………!

‘Invest the money where the return is.’

Zhou_enlai p3 got it spot on.

So a one off investment of 250m will just about wipe away 100B of our debt, brilliant.

Our economic problems pretty much solved so. Enda Kenny can do a President Bartlet style, “What’s next?”.

I suppose it is hertiages turn.
Saying that, I havent seen many of these senior people guarding sites or mixing lime mortar…

Anyone thing that 300-400% is being confused with x300-400?

It’s a good think we aren’t making policy decisions based on poor sums like this… oh wait…

It’s typical to make claims on the revenue side without any facts to support the argument.

When will the Government look at the bigger picture and engage in consultation with agencies like the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland, the Irish Heritage Trust and others and actually implement a heritage plan that will put Ireland at the forefront in offering a superb product to attract cultural tourists?

How many?

The Heritage Council itself may or may not have 12 or more directors that is typical of quangos, travel budgets etc, but maybe none of them should be abolished?

@Philip Lane

I take it from the tone of the post that you are highly sceptical of the claims made regarding returns from investment in heritage.
But what is the tourist industry to be built on, if not a celebration of the physical landscape of the country and of its heritage, literature etc.
Not only do these cultural and heritage help bring foreign tourist but they may also help to persuade our own aging and idled citizens to consider alternatives to the Canaries to while away the dying of the light.

I would have visited the Patrick Kavanagh centre in Enniskeen this Christmas but:
“The Centre will be closed for day visits from Friday 16th December 2011 to Tuesday 6th March 2012. ”
This is the kind of nonsense economising that makes no economic sense.
This country needs to rethink its very raison d’etre if it is to survive.

If this is true (x300-400) then they should privatise it asap as many companies would pay good money for something that gave that kind of roi instead of sitting on their cash at low interest rates as they currently are.

@ Joseph Ryan

I am very favourably disposed to public support for the heritage sector – the point is just that quantitative estimates should be backed up by a plausible methodology and I do not know the foundations for a factor of 300-400 return.

That’s it then, invest 30 million per annum in heritage and the 10 bn budget deficit will be fixed. One of the first projects they could invest in is a “financial loonies of the 2000’s” theme park with wax models of Bertie and Cowen and some flying PIIGS. We need some more Heritage as these Hertitage tourists seem to be willing to pay way over the odds for this generating a ROI of 300 to 400.

Maybe he is converting the bread the monks got paid on Skellig to current Euros but that type of ROI is only generated in the drug economy.

The 300/400 figure could just mean that very little is currently invested in “Heritage Tourism” but the comparative return is great. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that investing more will increase the return to the same extent.

Why is making ‘returns the exchequer’ a good thing? Are they planning to break the habit of a lifetime and actually spend on something other than appeasing vested interests? How about economic ideas that see ‘returns to the exchequer’ actually falling? I know we are now living in a George Orwell-meets-crazy-golf world where tax increases are ‘savings’ and expropriation of pension assets for eye-catching populist ‘jobs’ schemes are ‘investment’ but ‘returns to the exchequer’ are not a justification of any economic activity. How about ‘profit’? As in someone will get rich(er). if they do x, y or z?

How about a ban on suggestions that involved expropriation of the earned income of others?

Wouldn’t that be a novel idea?

“The 300/400 figure could just mean that very little is currently invested in “Heritage Tourism” but the comparative return is great. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that investing more will increase the return to the same extent.”

The statement is unequivocal – the origin of the claim is a mystery..

“Every euro invested in heritage returns €300 to €400 to the exchequer. Every four full-time jobs created in the sector generate 10 part-time jobs”

also over what period — anually? …over a hundred years? Even the survey by QR (whose credentials I dare not question) are in apparent conflict with this figure.. that is if we knew the period for the first one.

“grants made over the last 10 years have contributed at least two-fold and possibly four-fold to the exchequer in income tax, VAT, employment and buying local and Irish goods”

The attached Bord Failte link gives the total spend by overseas tourists at
approx €3.4 billion for 2010 down considerably on 2009. Anecdotally it has increased in 2011.


A significant % of this spend is predicated on Irish heritage and culture.
The total Tourism, Cultural and Sport budget in 2011 was €272 million down a full 41% on 2010. If every other Govt dept has reduced accordingly, Ireland would probably be in surplus now.

Like the capital budget, spending in this area is easy to cut. The soft option. But there will be very negative long term effects to these cutbacks.

@ Joseph Ryan : re 3:00 comment. I was home for a weekend recently and when to go to the local museum on a Saturday. It didn’t open until 12:00; everyother day it opens at 9.30 (when I’d assume very few people can go) but closes for lunch.

@ Joseph Ryan

+ 1

@ Philip Lane, et al

I think this is a good thread to bring together some of the issues that are floating about the site.

In the areas of Heritage, Sport and the Arts, economic cases have had to have been put together, as for a period of years anything that is either not covered by various commitments or shows an obvious return – anything that is not nailed down – has been first on the list for cuts.

I saw it for a while as a steam-train which has run out of fuel and the engineers are busy smashing up the furniture to keep the boiler going – every now and then some one has to try to leap and save something or other worthwhile.

If the initial economic case has been understandably faltering this suggests that better study is required, rather than dismissal. I’ve been quietly pushing for the CSO to conduct an Arts module, just as it did a Sports one in 2006.

But in any case, in these areas too much emphasis has probably been put on the economic case.

The real question for those of us with young families who wish to stay in Ireland is how do we answer Richard Tol’s parting shot, “Ireland is facing 10 years of austerity. Leaving Ireland is the best thing you can do at the moment if you are responsible for a young family.” Which by implication suggests that those of us who choose to stay are not doing the best we can for our children.

And the first step is to say that in staying in Ireland and still claiming that this is the best we can do, it is not always about the money.

Indeed very few of us, I suggest, make major life decisions for simple economic gain. Myself I turned down a quarter of a million in 1988 in London in order to study Medieval Poetry – I have no regrets.

Arts and Sport, as well as being pleasurable and an intrinsic good for one and all, offer ideas of excellence and achievement which are nothing to do with the cash, and will remain great landmarks of human individual and collaborative achievement. The vast majority of international coverage of Ireland is Sporting and Artistic.

Heritage is more to do, I think, with stewardship of landscape and memory.

I had the great good fortune to work this year on Anu Production’s “The Laundry” which took place on the now abandoned (and to be demolished) site of the Magdelane Laundry on Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1. I asked the director, Louise Lowe, why she was making these works – the Laundry is the second of four planned productions in and around the Monto – and she said because the area fascinated her because it had been rebuilt, renamed, re-oriented so many times that it seemed like the city was ashamed of it, and simply wanted it – like the memory of the Magdelane Laundries – to disappear. I also asked a local historian whether the Celtic Tiger had finally achieved something in the area and he said he thought it was really more of a Celtic Leopard – spotty – and this was one of the spots it had missed.

Heritage is really about memory and there are many things, for good and ill, that this country should remember in order to better itself in the future.

I live now, behind the 1934 square brick library of Phibsboro, which has a new little water feature in honour of James Joyce who lived for a time around the corner. This is all very well, but perhaps a little wincey in terms of Lit.-Tourism. Far more important is that it is the place where my parents and my wife’s parents, brothers and sisters, used to get their 2 books a week for free, and now my children can go and read their books – and with the wonder of the inter-library loan can read any book they choose.

I know the great mr quigley sees Temple Bar and weeps and fears for the children of Cabra and Phibsboro that when all hope is stripped from them, they will turn against society.

In the great richness of Irish community, fed by heritage, sport and the arts I still see hope and I know of no other people than the working classes of North Dublin amongst whom I would rather raise my family.

Having said that though – there’s still the matter of getting 50 billion plus back from the financial sector to be fought for.

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