Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Committee on Budgetary Oversight
Fiscal Assessment Report: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council
I represent an area with massive investment by multinational companies, including pharmaceuticals and biological drugs. They have spent approximately €5 billion on capital investment in my constituency over a five year period. This would be very striking in any EU country, never mind Ireland. What interests me, looking at the total Government spend figures in the Irish economy at present, is that approximately €21 billion is being spent on social protection, which includes money for older demographics, we have the extraordinary figure in the Supplementary Estimate for health of €17 billion, and another extraordinary figure in education, which is right back down at approximately €11 billion. Attracting quality and sustainable foreign direct investment involves good salaries and conditions.
In conjunction with our tax arrangements, our calling card is our supply of people who are well educated, interested and willing to work in local and international businesses. Notwithstanding the in-flows to the Exchequer, we are not reinvesting in education on the capital or current side in a way that would support the sustainability of the model that, in part, we have developed and, in part, has been visited on us. The UK being outside the EU area and Ireland remaining in it could heighten our attractiveness in terms of investment. Many of the witnesses have academic links. Do they have any concerns about the education budget?