IRELAND'S GREAT JOBS HOPE is a Hail Mary pass down the field of State investment. As postulated by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Ireland's seven-year investment plan would create 270,000 jobs. No econometric analysis accompanied this optimistic projection. I call it optimistic because in previous interviews with RTE News, both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland offered projections significantly lower than the Taoiseach's. On 2 March 2010, the IDA promised to create 62,000 jobs from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by 2014 and claimed that another 43,000 indirect jobs would flow from that same FDI. That means 105,000 total jobs. Then on 26 July, the IDA came up with another target, saying they could create 166,000 total jobs in Ireland over a seven-year period. Theses are big numbers and with EUR 1.2 billion being spent to create 270,000 jobs, the straight mathematics says each job will cost less than EUR 5000. At that price, I doubt Ireland will be getting next-generation employment.
But there's also a big pile of money being poured into third level and into research programmes. If that stimulus funding results in smart business start-ups, Ireland will have some hope of returning to unemployment levels below 7%. However, those would be indigenous employment, highly dependent on lines of credit from banks and on keeping talented Irish entrepreneurs on home soil.
I've a crop of 52 hopeful first year students in my third level BSc degree next month. I'm bookmarking this blog post to see how things have panned out in October 2014, the month when most of them will be walking away with an Ordinary or Honours degree.