Ireland is relying too heavily on foreign businesses rather than supporting Irish companies according to a prominent economist and bishop, after hundreds of jobs were lost after a Cork company closed.
Formerly of UCD, economist Prof. Ray Kinsella told The Irish Catholic that multinational companies will go where the benefits are greatest and costs are least, which is the “name of the game”. Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin, said over the weekend there’s a dangerous dependence on global companies in Ireland, which Prof. Kinsella said was “sensible”.
“We shouldn’t pretend that it’s a sensible thing to entrust our future, as an economy and as a society, to major companies who are driven by considerations that really don’t regard the welfare and the interests of the national economy,” he said.
“They do it because it’s convenient and that’s fine, but that shouldn’t deflect us from a much greater vision as it were, which is small and medium sized companies, but also the potential for big companies that are rooted in Ireland were their interests lie in the development of the Irish economy.”
His comments come after there was 320 job losses at Novartis, a business in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork.
Prof. Kinsella said the global economy is currently not in “great shape”, which can influence decisions made by multinational companies. He added: “We should not be dependent on mobile international investment because it’s subject to pressures which we have no control over.”
Bishop Gavin said on Saturday, during a Mass in the parish of Carrigaline in which many Novartis workers live, that Ireland has developed an “enormous reliance in the pharmaceutical sector”.
He said: “As a nation, we need to ensure that our reliance on foreign direct investment does not lure us into a false sense of security. We need to invest more in our local indigenous industries and innovations.”
This comes as Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe diocese lamented 500 job losses at the Irish subsidiary of US multinational company Molex in Shannon last week. He said it was a “devastating blow” for employees, families and the local economy.
“While our people have a wonderful spirit and resilience, this news is evidence that we are living more-and-more in a two-tier Ireland – with the regions losing out. My concern is that young families, people managing mortgages and domestic bills, with child care commitments, will be the first impacted.”
Prof. Kinsella reiterated this saying there is internal migration in Ireland, from small and medium towns that have economic potential, to big cities that are becoming “bloated”.
“We don’t have a balanced development strategy in Ireland, we’re under focused on developing a holistic policy for new industries around the country,” he said.