to raise €5bn of fresh investment on the private market and needs state help.
The EU will probably sneak around its own new rules on bank bailouts which stipulate that private investors must lose money in a bailout.
As the third-biggest economy in the Eurozone, Italy has many fundamental problems. Its national debt is over €2.2 trillion and it has just failed to pass new political reforms. Many believe Italy is not that far away from electing an anti-euro government. This could see a gradual unravelling of the euro itself. It won’t happen in 2017. Italy will muddle on with the backing of Germany and France, who know it is too big to bail out and too big to leave the euro — for now.
Against the backdrop of these uncertainties our own Government has been raiding the kitty with public sector pay deals and increased spending. It has done away with water charges and has been warned by the Fiscal Advisory Council, an independent economic watchdog, that half of the money available for spending increases or tax cuts in 2018 has already been used up.
Individual sectors here will keep the head down. The food sector, which has The gulf between the experience of private sector and public sector employment has become too wide. Job certainty, conditions and pensions are the things that come to mind. When it comes to pensions alone, the benefits enjoyed by many public sector employees are utterly unsustainable. I would like to see the public sector pay commission and the Government stop politicking with this issue and spell out the facts around how unaffordable the current pension system is. Public sector industrial unrest combined with the public sector pay review will provide an opportunity for an honest assessment of these issues and a chance to be realistic in reforming public sector pay.
been a strong performer, will be worried about Brexit and how it evolves. The tourism sector has done incredibly well since the crash.
Brexit and security concerns for Americans who are fearful of travel could make life a little harder for tourism in 2017.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is the man to watch in 2017. He has the timing of an election in his hands. On what issue will he decide to walk? It could be around spending and public sector pay. If Fine Gael capitulates to strike threats, Fianna Fáil can say they are becoming reckless with the public purse.
If Fine Gael stands firm, Fianna Fáil can say that ongoing strikes are crippling the country and show the government isn’t working.
The next 12 months will be turbulent and uncertain but not all bad for the Irish economy. There are genuine external risks but they may not fully materialise in 2017.
Expect a British retreat on a hard Brexit, a weekly Trump soap opera in Washington and a new Taoiseach in 2017. no-brainer. It has been the case for several years now that each new selling period heralds another rise in the genre. I do know that the distributors of vehicles here are expecting another increase in 2017. Will we finally get a lift-off in electric cars? Will someone in the Government finally recognise the need for concrete action — as well as financial incentives — to entice people to buy into the whole idea of owning an electric vehicle? Globally, car-makers are pushing on. Who ever thought Jaguar would make an electric SUV (the I-PACE)? Regardless of what happens on that front, most of us will continue to buy diesel cars. There just isn’t an alternative for thousands who churn out the big (and small) mileage each year. So it’s diesel-do for the foreseeable future. Expect a bit of a rise in the choice of petrol-car options and a corresponding increase in the number of people buying one. Nothing dramatic, but it provides me with another opportunity to point out that it could take up to seven years of fuelling to make up the initial premium price you pay for your diesel car over the petrol one. More people bought a plug-in hybrid in the past year than ever before. Manufacturers if they are not fully aware of everything to do with PCPs — or any finance deal for that matter. The rate of connectivity will accelerate exponentially. People want to be ‘in touch’ with everything when they are driving. Especially the passengers. And, believe me, every new car will be connected in some way or another in the next few years. More and more will have even bigger spreads of technology and wider availability of in-car Wi-Fi. Watch out for pressure from some quarters for heavier taxation on diesel fuel/cars and possibly a general increase in road-tax levels. I have a feeling (bad) in my bones about this. There is quite a trend towards cars getting all-wheel-drive. It costs a few thousand more but the luxury marques such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes, for example, are putting their versions into smaller saloons. People like the extra grip and traction. Big growth area in 2017, I predict. Finally, prepare to be really surprised at the shape and design of some of the new cars over the next 12 months. What looks radical now will look positively conservative, especially with electric vehicles. The Geneva Show in March will be fascinating.
Clockwise from above: Eyes will switch from Brexit to Italy following a failed referendum on political reform; man-to-watch Micheál Martin; and a protest at Foynes Port in Co Limerick as farmers face more challenges
Shape of things to come: Jaguar’s concept of their new electric SUV, the I-PACE