As the US massages its figures and juggles interest rates to try to deny its economy is in recession there is fat chance of American investment coming here. Already the investment conference scheduled for May has been downgraded to a much smaller event.
Secondly, the arrival of eastern European states in the EU has meant Brussels money winging its way to them along with multi-nationals anxious to take advantage of low pay.
Third, given those facts, why would anyone want to come here when they can get better financial terms in the Republic or lower overheads in Slovakia or Poland?
Already Dublin is finding it difficult to keep Dell and Intel manufacturing in the Republic and that’s with the power to adjust taxation.
I’d have also added the reluctance to dismantle the ridiculously over-heavy public sector and the inability of the two main parties in our coalition "government" to move outside their sectarian comfort zone, but relaying that first truth might upset those public sector workers (which by the law of averages must make at least 50% of his readership) enduring Brian's article and since Feeney is also content to remain also firmly within the self-same metaphorical ghetto as the DUP and SF, then he is hardly going to highlight the latter cause, is he?
But you’ll never guess his solution to Northern Ireland’s economic problems.
No,you probably will:
There is an alternative –?to cooperate more closely with the Republic in a single all-island investment body but unfortunately we have a DUP minister in charge of what is laughingly called ‘the economy’.
OK, for the sake of argument let’s run with BF here and let’s move back to Feeney’s three factors:
Would an all-island investment body stop the oncoming US economic recession?
Would an all-island investment body mean more EU money for NI, would it reduce wages here to E.European levels?.
Would an all-island investment body make NI a more attractive place to invest than the ROI, would it reduce the overheads here to Slovakian and Polish levels?
No and no.
Irish republicans urge "all-island" measures on such diverse subjects as road safety, suicide and even sex offenders, ignoring the fact that simply putting them all on all-island basis would achieve exactly diddly-squat squared in terms of solving these real social problems. Their and Feeney’s mindset is locked in a 1970s zero-sum version of Irish nationalism which is physically incapable of seeing solutions beyond their own prejudices.
So here’s my alternative, one that would never have occurred to Feeney and Co- the DUP join forces with the Tories, the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru in pushing the government in Westminster to reduce the level of corporation tax throughout the UK.
Would that solve the three problems that Feeney has highlighted?
No, of course not, but it would give a real tangible boost to small business and entrepreneurs here, put them on an equal playing field with their competitors in the Republic.
And they are "competitors", just ask those Aer Lingus workers at Shannon.