This week I attended a business breakfast meeting where the main speaker was Peter Sutherland, the former Attorney General. During his speech he warned of the impact that media negativity was having on Ireland’s reputation abroad. He believed, and I agree with them, that some media commentators have a lot to answer for in this regard – particularly insofar as reporting things completely without balance. What of the 3,000 new companies created in August? Or the consistent fall in unemployment month on month? And the fact that this isn’t just down to emigration, which commentators now lazily reach for to explain the fall. Where is the reasoned analysis of any of this? We have the statistics to back these assertions up.
Certain commentators are guilty, in his belief, of painting austerity as something other than us living within our means, and as though it’s a choice. Austerity isn’t a choice, it is right now a necessity. Closing the large gap between our expenditure and our income is still a necessity. Everybody acknowledges it: even Sinn Fein’s budget is framed within the need to cut at least €2.4bn via a combination of spending cuts and raising taxes.
Peter Sutherland had a lot of interesting thoughts and advice to offer, and I believe that we should pay some attention to his thoughts about a media becoming obsessed with negativity. Stability and reasoned analysis are what is needed now.