Brexit storm

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - CONTENTS -

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

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