Competitiveness a growing worry – Feargal O’Rourke, PWC, tells Limerick Chamber Regional Leaders’ Programme event

Home / Competitiveness a growing worry – Feargal O’Rourke, PWC, tells Limerick Chamber Regional Leaders’ Programme event

Competitiveness a growing worry – Feargal O’Rourke, PWC, tells Limerick Chamber Regional Leaders’ Programme event

Dr James Ring – CEO Limerick Chamber, Dave Griffin -Business Development Director /DELL EMC, Feargal O’Rourke- Guest Speaker /Managing Partner, PWC Photo credit Shauna Kennedy

Wednesday 5 July 2017:  One of Ireland’s leading business figures, PWC Managing Partner Feargal O’Rourke, has told a Limerick Chamber event that competitiveness, inevitably alongside Brexit, remains the biggest concern for the Irish economy.
Warning against a repeat of the Celtic Tiger era, Mr O’Rourke said that a drop in competitiveness is a real risk.  Mr O’Rourke was speaking following the recent UL sponsored Limerick Chamber Regional Leaders’ Programme event at Dell EMC’s Raheen site.
“The Irish economy is pretty strong at the moment and I suppose one of the things I continuously worry about its competitiveness,” he said. 
“We see retail prices rise lately.  We’ve seen office accommodation, salaries and wages are rising.  So I just think we need to make sure that we learned the lessons of 2005 to 2008 and make sure we don’t lose competitiveness over the next while.”
With regard to Brexit, Mr O’Rourke – son of former Minister Mary O’Rourke – said after the gathering of representatives from leading Limerick businesses that the UK election had changed a lot.  “Given the results of the UK election, I’m probably a bit more optimistic about a softer exit. I think what happened is the prime minister went looking for a mandate for a hard Brexit. She didn’t really get it and, as a result, I think a lot more voices are going to be listened to over the next couple of years.  But it’s still all to play for.  “I’m an incurable optimist at the best of times. I think Ireland is in a pretty good position at the moment. We’re still doing well in foreign direct investment. We’re still doing well in indigenous employment. So other than Brexit, I’d think we were in a great position.  But Brexit will have a massive impact on what the economy looks like over the next 3 or 4 years.”
Asked what one policy intervention he would make in the next budget, he quipped:  “I’m sure a lot of people would despair at Minister O’Rourke standing up there.” Continuing, he said:  “But I think something needs to be done nationally about housing and I don’t mean tax breaks or tax incentives – but our patch work quilt approach to planning, particularly around housing, needs to be addressed and I think we need some centralised efforts to break the logjams in certain areas.”
The was the third gathering of the Limerick Chamber Leaders’ Programme in partnership with Dell EMC and University of Limerick.  The programme will see five leadership talks in all delivered by regional and national business people. Up to 150 participants have signed up to the exclusive Limerick Chamber programme.
In between the bi-monthly leadership talks, the 150 participants participate in smaller groups with a mentor – a senior leader from the region that works with them to develop their leadership skills.  Each group receives a new mentor every two months, ensuring that they are exposed to many different leadership styles from a broad range of sectors.


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