Ireland is enjoying a “brain win,” Tánaiste Leo Varadkar tells business leaders

The Irish economy is in robust shape, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told business leaders, with a “brain gain” from returned emigrants and others moving here from abroad to take up jobs.

The historically neglected border counties have the strongest growth of any region, he said.

The comments are likely seen as an attempt to refute recent comments, including a survey commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland which found seven in ten young adults are considering moving abroad.

The leader of the Tánaiste and Fine Gael was making his comments at the annual Ibec President’s Dinner at the RDS tonight, which was also due to be attended by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien and heads of key private sectors and semi-state firms.

The dinner will usher in the term of office of new Ibec President Imelda Hurley, who is CEO of state forestry company Coillte and a non-executive director of Dole PLC and Ibec.

The Tánaiste and the Economy Minister explained to the gala dinner attendees that the war in Ukraine and rising inflation require a response similar to that of collective efforts during the pandemic.

“This collective spirit needs to be summoned again. We need to work together again.

“We need Ibec and others at the table to help us make the big decisions and get them right,” he said.

However, he told the Assembly that Ireland had never had so many people working and the labor market participation rate of women as high.

“Incomes have never been higher, despite inflation,” he said.

“Employment is growing strongly in all parts of the country. The Border counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Monaghan and Cavan have been the best performing regions over the past two years with employment growth of 29 per cent. The south east and west coasts are not far behind.”

The Irish government runs surpluses when its competitors run deficits, he said.

He also implicitly dismissed the suggestion that young people were leaving Ireland due to rising rents and other costs.

Nearly 30,000 Irish nationals returned home to live and work here last year, alongside a similar number who have arrived from the UK and Europe, he said.

“We are benefiting from a massive ‘brain gain’ and an influx of talent and skills into the country,” he said. Ireland is enjoying a “brain win,” Tánaiste Leo Varadkar tells business leaders

Fry Electronics Team

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