The economic and social importance of culture has been a key theme in Derry/Londonderry City of Culture recently as representatives from Ballycastle Credit Union joined hundreds of others from right across Ireland to converge in Derry for their annual ILCU Chapter Officers’ & Insurance Forum.
Under the banner ‘Working Together For Members’, delegates explored key issues impacting the lives of its almost 3 million members across Ireland North and South. Economist and commentator David McWilliams provided an insight on where the British and Irish economies are currently headed, and gave his thoughts on what needs to be done to drive the economy forwards, saying
“Over the course of the next couple of years, nobody is going to wave a magic wand at the top. Local economy is crucial to keep things going when the macro economy is uncertain.”
Looking at the British and Irish economies, he reflected on the changes ahead for both, urging the Irish Government to acknowledge their position, and said only an acceptance of the reality in which they find themselves will facilitate real change to their future.
Of the British economy, David compared the UK today to Britain of the 80’s, with continuing low interest rates and the recent privatisation of Royal Mail reflective of that era, highlighting the UK as “an example of a country that is serious about recovery”. He said:
“The British Economy is recovering, engineered by a Tory government who want to win the next election. David Cameron is willing to risk a housing boom – the jury is out as to whether that is the right thing.”
David spoke of the continuing high levels of immigration and unemployment in Ireland, North and South, reminding the audience that “Every single statistic is a story”.