Ireland remains competitive, but threats to economic sustainability are growing

Jul 10, 2019
The Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), Professor Peter Clinch, recently launched Ireland’s Competitiveness Scorecard 2019, a report that builds on the evidence already presented in the Cost of Doing Business in Ireland 2019 report and the Productivity Statement 2018.

The Scorecard adds a number of non-cost competitiveness indicators that are assessed by the Council to inform the Council's views on the overall competitiveness of the Irish economy and the key issues the Council needs to highlight, and raise with Government, so as to ensure that Ireland's competitiveness position is protected as best as possible.

The report provides the Council's overall assessment of the competitiveness of the Irish economy and flags a number of areas that may be negatively impacting on competitiveness. The Council's annual publication, the Competitiveness Challenge 2019 (due in December), will build on the evidence presented here and make recommendations to Government on the best ways to improve competitiveness.

In what is his last report as Chairman, Professor Clinch said: "In 2014, when I joined the National Competitiveness Council, Ireland was emerging from what was viewed as the worst economic crisis in the history of the State. Today, Ireland is ranked by the IMD as the seventh most competitive country in the world, and the second most competitive country in the euro area. This is a significant achievement.

"However, in recent years, the cost-base has risen and the economy has become more concentrated in certain areas, leaving Ireland exposed to the performance of a small number of firms, trading in a relatively narrow range of products and services, and operating in a small number of sectors. Moreover, with public debt levels that are the highest in the EU, Ireland is vulnerable in the face of any future crisis.

"These threats to the sustainability of the economy sit alongside other sustainability issues. Ireland is on course to fail to meet its 2020 EU commitments for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These continue to rise as they decrease across the EU. The Council welcomes the Government's Climate Action Plan and notes that significant behavioural change will be required for Ireland to come close to meeting its 2030 targets."

Ireland's Competitiveness Scorecard 2019 is available here.

Published: 10 July 2019.

Source: The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation.