Ireland after NAMA

[This is an expanded version of a paper delivered to the Conference of Irish Geographers at NUI Maynooth on May 1, 2010]

Introduction: The importance of exports to the Irish economy

Due to the small size of the domestic Irish economy, Irish-based businesses must look to export markets in order to achieve the economies of scale or specialisation capable of generating high living standards comparable to other advanced economies.  The achievement and maintenance of export competitiveness (i.e. the ability of Irish-based firms to compete in export markets) is therefore an essential requirement for the Irish economy’s long-term success. Expanding exports has been a central objective of Irish government policy since the late 1950s and has enjoyed a considerable measure of success as reflected in the ratio of exports of goods and services to GDP which grew from just over a quarter in 1950 to 94% in 2000 – one of…

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