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The DCU Executive MBA programme exposes participants to top-performing experienced professionals from international and national business who share their insights on such themes as strategy, leadership, digital technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

On Thursday 14th April 2016 we had our final MBA Executive Speaker Series for the academic year. Rob O’Toole, Head of HR Shared Services for the Irish Civil Service joined us to share his experiences of Talent Management across the public and private sectors.

The DCU Executive MBA is a two-year part-time programme that is widely recognised as the degree of choice for rising executives with ambitions to be Senior Managers/CEOs, whatever their specialist backgrounds.

DCU is Ireland’s University of Enterprise, which influences and drives our industry engagement strategy and MBA programme design. Our MBA participants learn from academic experts with a high level of industry relevant experience and translational research. This ensures graduates have the most up-to-date knowledge of theory and practice.

Learn more about DCU’s Executive MBA programme

The accounting education change debate is not new, indeed, since the first accounting programmes were offered by universities and professional accountancy bodies in the 19th century, their relevance and currency has been questioned. However, the nature and scale of the change debate has intensified over the past thirty years, as accounting education within higher education has expanded considerably and there has been an explosion in demand for those with accounting knowledge and skills in the global marketplace.

The most enduring criticism of accounting education is that it fails to appropriately prepare professional accountants to meet the challenging and dynamic needs of contemporary organisations. More particularly, it has been reported that many accounting programmes focus on developing technical accounting knowledge and skills at the expense of broader business knowledge and competencies, thus failing to prepare students to cope with knowledge obsolescence and changing demands on accountants in organisations. Many academics also consider that the dominance of the accounting profession in shaping accounting education means that programmes provide “a narrow, functionalist view of the discipline”[1] and fail both to expose students to multiple perspectives of accounting and to enrich their intellectual capabilities such that they can critique current practice and develop innovative ideas.

Many educators have listened to the criticisms and significant changes are evident in the programmes offered by professional bodies and universities. Accounting programmes now focus on developing the multiple types of competences[2] needed by accountants in the modern business world. Further, many programmes provide a wider perspective on accounting and explore topics beyond the traditional, technical syllabus (e.g. sustainability, corporate social responsibility, accounting in society etc.), in addition to embracing both broader business subjects and skills development.

There is no doubt that there is scope to further enrich the education of accountants, however, the time is ripe to shift the focus of the accounting education change debate to the delivery of accounting courses to those who will not become accountants. Non-accountants do not need to be taught the intricacies of technical accounting, instead they need to understand the role of accounting in their organisations and how accounting information impacts on their roles, whether that be as a marketing specialist in a multi-national, a family business owner or a GP in a medical practice. Thus the attention of accounting educators needs to focus more astutely on the content and orientation of the accounting courses taught to MBA students and the undergraduate courses that are taught to general business, engineering, science and humanities students.  If such courses focus on cultivating a contextual understanding of core accounting concepts and also develop some appropriate financial analysis skills, they will provide students with the competence and confidence to participate effectively in the strategic discourse and decision-making in organisations. Thus, by engaging in this debate, accounting educators have an opportunity to add real value to the career prospects of non-accounting specialists who aspire to management and leadership roles.

Barbara Flood is Professor of Accounting and Deputy Dean at DCU Business School. Her research focuses on accounting education and training and she is a member of the Education, Training and Lifelong Learning Board of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

References

[1] Boyce, G. (2004) Critical accounting education: teaching and learning outside the circle, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15(4/5), 565-586.

[2] In their model of professional competence, Cheetham and Chivers (1998) contend that professional competence comprises of Knowledge/Cognitive competence, Functional competence, Personal/ Behavioural competence, Values/Ethical competence and a range of meta competencies, such as communication, analysis, reflection. See Cheetham, G and Chivers, G. (1998) The reflective (and competent) practitioner: a model of professional competence which seeks to harmonise the reflective practitioner and competence-based approaches, Journal of European Industrial Training, 22(7), 267-276.

 

As part of the DCU Executive MBA (EMBA) personal and career development theme, a programme of activities was designed by the Programme Director to develop EMBA participants self-awareness, leadership competencies and career development competencies.

These activities include partaking in an assessment centre, coaching clinics with professional coaches, CV and Interview workshops. This culminates in a career and personal development day, which was organised and run by DCU Career Service in collaboration with DCU Business School and DCU Alumni Office. The result was a packed day consisting of 1:1 coaching sessions, mock panel interviewers, assessment centre feedback sessions, CV clinics and a keynote inspirational speaker.

DCU Career Service through Yvonne McLoughlin organised top calibre professionals to deliver each activity. Professional coaches provided excellent career or personal development advice to EMBA participants. DCU Alumni working in top calibre organisations in HR Director or recruitment or consultancy roles put our EMBA’s through their paces in challenging mock panel interviews and provided immediate feedback on their performance. HR and management professionals ran CV clinics to provide personalised advice on CV’s.

Our EMBA’s described the line-up of activities and the feedback obtained as ‘one of the highlights’ of their MBA journey thus far. The participants were very impressed with the extent of personalised feedback they received. They were grateful for the opportunity to be challenged by top professionals in a no-consequences context. This event is testament to the value to be obtained from collaboration between a Business School, Career Services and Alumni where each unit delivers on what it is best at.

The DCU Executive MBA programme is the capstone programme in the Business School and attracts a diversity of participants in terms of demographics, industry and professional expertise- participants must have at least a 2.1 degree and a minimum of 3 years management level experience. This calibre of EMBA participant and their organisations make a large commitment to completing an EMBA and they expect a professional offering of the highest international standard. The DCU Career Service delivered such an event this year as judged by our customers – the DCU Executive MBA’s.

“A timely and wonderful event that provides the skills to go out and progress your career. Professionally organised with highly talented interviewers and coaches, it has been a very positive experience and one that will help me secure the next phase of my career”.

“The day offered an opportunity to test yourself on not only your skill set for interviewing, but also in personal development. The CV clinic provided some real nuggets that may just prove the difference in getting selected for that next big interview”.

(Pictured: MBA2 class with Paralympic athlete, gold and silver medal winner Dave Malone)

Learn more about the DCU Executive MBA programme

DCU Business School Masters programmes are renowned for having a unique blend of applied theory and real world practice.  Are you thinking of undertaking a Masters? Here’s ten reasons to choose DCU Business School!

  • Distinctive Postgraduate Portfolio – Specialising at postgraduate level can augment your skills sets and make you a stronger job applicant. Our portfolio of professional studies includes full and part-time Masters programmes and a significant number of programmes offered by DCU Business School are unique or the first of their kind in Ireland.

  • Diversity – DCU is a diverse, multi-ethnic community with over 2,000 international students from 116 countries. DCU Business School courses attract a wide diversity of students from many different countries, including recent graduates and experienced executives. To date over 43,000 students have graduated from DCU and are now playing key roles in many sectors across the world.

  • The Learning Partnership – DCU Business School has developed a reputation for lecturer and student interacting as equals in a ‘learning partnership’. As part of the ‘adult learning experience’ experiential learning techniques, including business simulations, case studies, seminars, problem-solving and team building exercises are used to apply knowledge.

  • Variety and Depth in Teaching – DCU Business School staff come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds: accounting, economics, finance, human resource management, information systems, engineering, management, marketing, and psychology. DCUBS academics play an active role in advising government, industry bodies, SMEs and major corporations with research published in leading international academic and business journals.

  • Next Generation Management Philosophy – Next Generation Management is DCU Business School’s ground-breaking initiative, which is designed to prepare the next generation of business managers and leaders, who are adaptive and flexible, innovative, socially responsible and accountable. DCUBS prides itself on its ability to deliver excellent management education in keeping with the needs of the market and to provide students with the knowledge, competence and ability to apply it.

  • Top Class Facilities – Within DCU Business School’s purpose built facility students have access to study rooms for group assignments and collaborative study; computer rooms; a coffee shop; and wireless internet access. Classrooms are fitted with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. Students have 24-hour online access to materials, project details and submission requirements via Loop, our online learning platform which offers access to an e-library and allows students to study from home.

  • Global Outlook –  Highly regarded internationally, DCU Business School is a member of the International Partnership of Business Schools (IPBS). DCUBS is actively involved in a wide array of international research projects, student and lecturer exchanges and other international ventures, which are central to our existence.

  • Links to Business – We are justifiably proud of our links with business. DCU Business School seminar series provide a forum for visiting academics and senior business practitioners to impart their knowledge and experience to DCUBS students, while industry-based projects enable students to ground their learning in real-world scenarios.

  • Graduate Reputation – Our reputation as a business school is based, above all else, on the quality of our graduates. Their capacity for creative thinking, their cross-disciplinary approach to problem-solving, and their ability to operate effectively make DCUBS graduates among the most sought after in Ireland and beyond. Our graduates hold senior positions in public and private enterprise around the world and we continue to educate future leaders of Irish and international business.

If you want to take your career to the next level, DCU Business School has the postgraduate programme to help you realise your full potential. If you are thinking about doing a Masters in DCU Business School, you can check out all of DCU Business School’s Postgraduate programmes here.

 

Tony Foley, senior lecturer in economics in DCUBS, delivers a keynote state of the economy talk entitled “Is Ireland out of the economic woods?” to the annual Conference of the Hardware Association of Ireland today, Thursday 7th April in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny.

In the talk Foley concludes…

While the economy is out of the woods in terms of the 2008 collapse, it still faces the ongoing economy management issues faced by all economies with two significant additional Irish elements; how do we have a good public services society with a tax system which which encourages enterprise and initiative and how do we cope with the pent-up demand for higher incomes and better living standards. In the context of the recent election terminology of a fairer and more economically inclusive Ireland and sharing the recovery, Foley concludes that this objective will require more resources than are likely to be available from the fiscal space over the next few years and especially in the next two years. Future economic management will be difficult because raised expectations will be difficult or impossible to be realised.

Tony Foley is Senior Lecturer in Economics in DCU Business School, and lectures on the Executive MBA Programme.

DCU Business School invites applications for PhD scholarships. These scholarships will provide support for fulltime PhD study and are open to applicants who students register in Year 1 of the full time PhD programme in the Business School in DCU in September/October 2016. Our PhD programme combines scholarly theory-building with a strong applied focus. Research scholars work under the supervision of an academic expert and are an important part of DCU Business School’s vibrant research community.

The scholarships will allow to undertake research in one of the following specialist disciplines:

  • Accounting
  • Economics, Finance, Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology
  • Management, Operations, Information Systems
  • Marketing

For full details, please view the guidelines for applicants.

This blog reports on the recently estimated 2015 average alcohol consumption in Ireland and the measurement methodology involved. The estimation was done by the author on behalf of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland. The data used are from the CSO Population and Migration Estimates for April 2015 (published in August 2015) and the Revenue Commissioners’ alcohol clearances data (clearances are beverages released into the market) (the 2015 figures were made available on March 5th 2016). The levels and trends in average alcohol consumption are important elements in public policy evaluation and design and robust estimates of the indicator are desirable.

Estimation Methodology

The measurement approach follows standard international practice and also the practice of previous Irish estimates by Foley (2015). The aggregate alcohol content of the different alcoholic beverages is identified. Revenue publishes alcohol equivalents for beer and spirits but cider and wine are published as quantity of beverage. The estimate is based on 5% alcohol by volume for cider and 12.5% alcohol content for wine and the actual alcohol estimates provided in the clearances data by Revenue are used for spirits and beer. Some international and national estimates use lower alcohol contents for wine and cider. The international and traditional convention of defining the adult population as 15 years and over is used, although this is, of course, an inaccurate measure of the adult population. The population data refer to April of each year. Consumption is equated with clearances as is normally done, although clearances are not an exact measure of consumption due to factors such as unrecorded out of state sourcing, stock changes and the effects of outward and inward tourism. These and other limitations of the alcohol consumption measurement methodology are discussed in Foley (2015).

Average alcohol consumption per adult 2014 and 2015

The data are presented in Table 1. The aggregate alcohol clearances and the “adult” populations are presented. These two are combined to provide the average per adult consumption. 

Table 1.  Average per adult alcohol consumption 2014 and 2015

2014

2015

% change 2014/2015

Litres of pure alcohol (LPA), Total consumption39,838,51039,711,197-0.3
Population aged 15 and over, millions3.59373.6060+0.3
Litres of pure alcohol per adult (LPA)11.08611.013-0.7
Beer (LPA)18,820,08118,538,561-1.5
Cider (LPA)3,120,5392,905,029-6.9
Spirits (LPA)7,217,9977,357,644+1.9
Wine (LPA)10,679,89310,909,963+2.2

Sources.  CSO Population and Migration Estimates August 2015, Revenue Commissioners’ Clearances data March 2015.

Total alcohol consumption as measured by clearances decreased slightly by 0.3% in 2015. The number of adults increased slightly by 0.3%.  Average per adult alcohol consumption decreased in 2015. It was 11.086 litres of pure alcohol (lpa) in 2014 compared with 11.013 lpa in 2015, a decrease of 0.7%.  Average per adult consumption is now slightly above 11 lpa. By comparison, it was at around 11 lpa in 1994 and peaked at 14.44 lpa in 2001. Since 2001 the average per adult alcohol consumption has declined by 23.7%.

It is useful to translate the litres of pure alcohol into more understandable indicators.

The 2015 11.01 lpa is equivalent to 8.7 pints of beer per week at 4.3% alcohol strength or 2.26 750 ml bottles of wine per week at 12.5% alcohol strength.

These consumption figures are averages. There is a distribution around the average. Some do not drink, some drink a lot and some drink a little. There are different estimates of the rate of abstinence but about 20% of adults do not consume alcohol. The average consumption for the drinking population is therefore about 13.766 lpa and in this group some consume above and some below this average.

In the 15 annual changes between the peak average consumption year of 2001 and 2015 there were 11 decreases and four increases.

The pattern of annual average per adult consumption of alcohol over the most recent five years is shown below:

 YearLpa
201511.013
201411.086
201310.730
201211.614
201111.692

Beer and cider volumes decreased in 2015. Spirits and wine both increased. Beer accounted for 47% of alcohol in 2015, cider 7%, spirits 19% and wine 27%. In 2001 wine’s share was only 14% and beer was 55%.

International Context

It is useful to place the Irish consumption level in an international context. The latest OECD Health Statistics for 2015 reports an OECD average alcohol consumption (for 2013 or latest year available) of 8.8 lpa, Ireland in this database is measured as 10.6 lpa for 2013 ( Foley  estimates the Irish 2013 level to be 10.7 lpa) .

The OECD average has been identified as a policy target for Ireland. However, this is not necessarily appropriate as an exact target. The OECD database includes far distant and culturally specific countries such as Turkey and Israel with very low alcohol consumption of 2.6 lpa and 1.4 lpa respectively and several other countries with “lowish” consumption such as Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico and USA. The non EU countries in the database have an average consumption of 7.1 lpa. The 21 EU members included in the OECD database have an average consumption of 9.9 lpa compared to the 10.6 recorded in the database for Ireland. Ireland is not widely out of line with this. These figures exclude unrecorded consumption which can be relatively high in some countries, such as, for example, Portugal.

Ireland is ranked ninth highest in the OECD database with all eight higher countries being from the EU. This ranking contrasts with 2001, which was Ireland’s peak consumption level, when Ireland was the highest alcohol consuming country in the OECD. If we use the 2015 estimate of 11.01 lpa instead of the estimate in the OECD database Ireland would be fifth highest.

The eight EU countries, of those in the OECD database, with higher alcohol consumption than Ireland (figures relate to 2013 or latest available year) were:

  • Austria 12.2 lpa
  • Czech Republic 11.5 lpa
  • Estonia 11.8 lpa
  • France 11.1 lpa
  • Germany 10.9 lpa
  • Hungary 11.1 lpa
  • Luxembourg 11.0 lpa
  • Poland 10.8 lpa

Average per adult alcohol consumption decreased by 0.7% in 2015 compared with 2014; from 11.086 lpa to 11.013 lpa. Total consumption decreased by 0.3% in 2015 and there were was an increase in the adult population of 0.3%.  Beer volume decreased by 1.5%. Cider volume decreased by 6.9%. Spirits volume increased by 1.9%. Wine volume increased by 2.2%. Since its peak in 2001 the average per adult alcohol consumption has declined by 23.7%.

Beer accounted for 47% of alcohol consumed in 2015, cider 7%, spirits 19% and wine 27%. In 2001 wine’s share was only 14% while beer was 55%.

 The 2015 11.01 lpa is equivalent to 8.7 pints of beer per week at 4.3% alcohol strength or 2.26 750 ml bottles of wine per week at 12.5% alcohol strength.

In 2001 Ireland was the highest alcohol consuming country in the OECD. Now, using OECD database figures it is ninth highest or, based on the latest 2015 Irish figures and the “older” OECD other country database figures, Ireland is fifth highest.

Anthony Foley is Senior Lecturer in Economics in DCU Business School, and lectures on the Executive MBA Programme.

References

  • Foley Anthony. Estimates of Alcohol Consumption Per Adult 2014. Drinks Industry Group of Ireland. 2015
  • Foley Anthony. Alcohol Consumption: Measurement and Data Issues; and Performance. Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship Research Seminar Series. DCU Business School. November 2015
  • Population and Migration Estimates April 2015. Central Statistics Office. August 2015
  • Revenue Commissioners. Alcohol Clearances (available from Revenue Commissioners)

 

On Thursday 3rd March 2016, Sharon Walsh, Marketing Director at Heineken joined us for an Executive Speaker Seminar with our MBA1 and MBA2 classes.

Sharon has over 15 years marketing experience during which time she has held senior marketing positions at Coca-Cola (Head of Marketing Sparkling Portfolio and Head of Media), Gilbey’s of Ireland and Diageo Ireland (Brand & Marketing Manager, Smirnoff & Baileys). Since joining Heineken Ireland in 2012 as Marketing Director, Sharon has been responsible for the marketing of Heineken Ireland’s portfolio of brands including the Heineken brand itself, Coors Light, Tiger beer, Desperado, Murphy’s Irish Stout and Paulaner.

Sharon is a DCU alumni and graduated with a Masters in Strategic International Marketing. She has has delivered some of Ireland’s best known marketing communications campaigns and won a number of awards in the All Ireland Marketing Awards programme. Her professional standing and achievements were recognised recently by the Marketing Institute of Ireland where she was awarded fellowship status. Sharon’s presentation to the MBA group covered her most recent campaign, the launch of Orchard Thieves cider.

If you are interested in undertaking an Executive MBA at DCU, join us for our upcoming Taster Evening. Details can be found here.

As we all know, Ireland’s public finances must meet specific EU and domestic fiscal rules on annual deficits, expenditure growth and debt reduction. Fiscal space refers to the projected or forecast amount of money available to the Government over a period of time for extra spending and/or tax reductions while ensuring that the overall fiscal rules are met. In the bad old days of cutbacks the relevant and opposite phrase was fiscal consolidation which meant the amount of expenditure reduction and/or tax increases needed to reduce borrowing over a particular period. The amount, probability and use of the available fiscal space were major issues in the recent general election.

In the election discussion the fiscal space refers to the five years from 2017 to 2021. Most of the projected fiscal space money occurs later in the period. Of the much quoted total figure of €8.6 billion, €5.7 billion or 66% arises in 2020 and 2021. Only €0.6 billion is in 2017 and €1.1b is in 2018. The 2019 level is €1.3 billion. We will have to wait a while for most of the fiscal space goodies. If the EU changes, as expected, our annual borrowing or deficit rule we will have another €1.5 billion which will arise in 2019.

The fiscal space money is not certain. It is not sitting in a bank waiting to be withdrawn. It depends on the achievement of solid economic and employment growth over the next five years. If the economy performs weaker than forecast there will be less fiscal space money available. The fiscal space calculation is based on an assumption of GDP growth of 3.5% in 2017 and around 3% for each of 2018 to 2021.

So, the fiscal space is a forecast amount of money and therefore uncertain; it depends on reasonable economic growth and other economic performance up to 2021. Even if the forecast turns out to be correct, the bulk of the fiscal space will arrive in 2020 and 2021 with much less in 2017 and 2018.

There are several different concepts, definitions and estimates of the fiscal space ranging from €14.2 billion to €3.2 billion which cause problems for a wide understanding of the issue.. This range gives space for much argument as was seen in the election campaign. All of the estimates are valid methodologically but are based on different interpretations, inclusions/exclusions and assumptions.

The €8.6 billion estimate is based on achieving a deficit of 0% but, as mentioned, there is a strong likelihood that we will be allowed a deficit of 0.5% by the EU, instead of 0%. This would give us another €1.5 billion of fiscal space and would arise in 2019. Therefore the fiscal space could be €8.6 billion plus €1.5 billion, or the €10.1 billion which appears, for example, in the FG election economic plan.

The original €8.6 billion was estimated by the department of finance and details are in tables A.8 and A.9 of the 2016 Economic and Fiscal Outlook. To arrive at the figure the department estimated the requirements to meet the fiscal rules between 2017 and 2021 based on our projected economic performance. It then calculated the projected actual public financial situation based on the current level of public services, salaries, social welfare payments and other expenditures and tax revenues. The difference between the two is the fiscal space or the amount of money available to use in expenditure (above the current level) and tax reductions and still be compliant with the fiscal rules.

This exercise resulted in what is called the gross fiscal space of €10.9 billion but this figure assumed that income tax bands would be adjusted in line with inflation. As such an adjustment is unlikely, there would be additional tax revenues flowing to the exchequer of €1.8 billion. Adding this to the €10.9 billion we get €12.7 billion of adjusted gross fiscal space. If we add on the €1.5 billion from the possible change in the level of the deficit the total is €14.2 billion. Excluding this reduced deficit impact we are at €12.7 billion.

But, the government could not spend all of this €12.7 (or €14.2 billion) billion on, for example, new teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and guards or reduce taxation by €12.7 (or €14.2) billion because there are some definite or committed other expenditures over the 2017 to 2021 period. These include capital investment projects, the Lansdowne Rd pay deal and the demographic effect of more users of service through population growth and aging. There is also a plus side in that the number claiming unemployment payments will decrease. The department of finance estimates that €4.3 billion should be taken from the gross space of €12.7 billion, to cover the capital item, Lansdowne Rd and demographic influences to give the net fiscal space of €8.6 billion. You will note that the actual figure is €8.4 billion but this  deifference is due to rounding the totals.

Hence, we have our famous €8.6 billion. It includes an estimate for future demographic pressures and other known expenditure commitments. However, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council thinks that the €4.3 billion adjustment to the gross fiscal space is too low and that the €8.6 billion (or €10.1 billion if the deficit is changed to 0.5%) gives a wrong and exaggerated picture of the additional money the government will have to allocate over the next five years. The IFAC agrees with the figures up to this point and with the estimate of gross and net fiscal space (actually the IFAC estimates it to be €8.9 billion versus the €8.6 billion) but not with the implication that the money is available for new measures. The IFAC wants to identify the cost of providing the current level of services over the five year period including higher cost from inflation, likely increased salaries after Lansdowne Rd for 2019 to 2021 and increased social welfare payments. In addition, the IFAC believes the demographic adjustment done by the Department of Finance is too low.

Starting from the department of finance’s €8.6 billion net fiscal space which already incorporates a demographic adjustment, the IFAC suggests that another €1.5 billion should be allocated to cope with demographic pressure. The IFAC estimates that the cost of providing the present level of services and expenditure will increase by €4.2 billion between 2017 and 2021 through pay and social welfare increases and price inflation. Consequently, the IFAC estimates that the €8.6 billion (or €8.9 billion as IFAC estimates) should be further reduced by €1.5 billion and €4.2 billion to give an available level of resources of €3.2 billion. When the likely future cost of current services, salaries and social welfare payments are taken into account, the IFAC says there is €3.2 billion instead of €8.6 billion (or €4.7 billion instead of €10.1 billion) net fiscal space remaining for new measures.

The magnitude of dealing with likely increases in wages and social payments is substantial. Keeping pace with the GDP deflator measure of inflation of 1.2% per year would add about €1.7 billion to the social payments total between 2017 and 2021.  The same increase for wages and salaries in 2019 to 2021 would add about €800 million. Indexing the cost of government purchases would add about €600 million in the 2017 to 2021 period. These three alone on the above estimates would add €3.1 billion to the future cost of the current level of services and reduce the amount of fiscal space available for new services and tax reductions, except, of course, that higher social welfare payments, which could also be defined as a new measure, are accounted for. Higher interest payments and higher capital costs would further add to the cost of the present level of expenditure and services.

Some politicians in the election campaign have pointed out that the €8.6 billion (or €10.1 billion) figure includes an allowance for demographic effects. However, as noted, the IFAC believes that the department of finance demographic adjustment is insufficient and should be increased.

The point was also made by various politicians that the IFAC approach prejudges government decisions on wage deals and social payment increases and that these should be part of how the bigger estimate of fiscal space should be used and not excluded from the fiscal space total which is available for decision-making. This is a reasonable position. The IFAC concern is that a failure to make these costs explicit gives an exaggerated impression of the available new financial resources for tax reductions and new spending measures. For example, the FF economic plan allocated €4.76 billion of the available fiscal space for current services but this includes a sum for higher social welfare payments.

The FG economic plan allocated €4.2 billion of fiscal space for current services and notes (page 9) that this allocation includes…”provisions for sensible pay increases,….targeted welfare improvements and for other pressures (over and above a provision for addressing demographic costs)” (presumably the department of finance demographic provision). It was also argued that indexing the cost of goods and services to inflation is not appropriate because more effective procurement would reduce costs.

The IFAC figure of €3.2 billion is not directly comparable to the FG and FF figures of €8.6 billion because the FG and FF figures expect the social welfare increases to come from their €8.6 billion figures  while the IFAC has already excluded this from the fiscal space. However, neither FF nor FG included a provision for additional demographic costs compared to the department of finance’s estimate.

However, it must be remembered that there are no fiscal space monies available now. It depends on future economic growth and will be quite limited in the early years of the new government. In addition, the large amounts which are being mentioned relate to a five year period.

Anthony Foley is Senior Lecturer in Economics in DCU Business School, and lectures on the Executive MBA Programme.

If you’re interested in undertaking a part-time Executive MBA, we’re holding an open evening on March 31st 2016. Details here.

Congratulations to Dr Paul Davis, Head of our Management Group in DCU Business School, who was one of three DCU academics recognised by Fáilte Ireland for their work as conference ambassadors. Paul was involved in the International Public Procurement Conference 2014, which gathered 500 delegates.

Dr. Emer Ní Bhrádaigh was awarded for her work in securing the Institute of Small Business and Enterprise Conference in 2012. The conference brought together 450 delegates.

Prof. Paschal Preston was rewarded for the Crisis ‘Creative Destruction’ and the Global Power and Communications orders which 1,100 delegates attended. The overall economic impact of the three conferences was €2,870,000.

A total of 79 ambassadors, nominated by the Irish conference and meetings industry, were honoured for their work on the night. The conferences organised by the ambassadors delivered almost 73,000 international delegates to Ireland between 2011 and 2014. These delegates deliver over €101 million to the Irish economy.

Over 50% of all international conferences held in Dublin are obtained with the help of conference ambassadors.

Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn, said at the event “We are recognising them today not only for their significant contribution to the local economy but also for the part they have played in building Ireland’s reputation as a compelling and attractive destination to do business”.