'We must learn from the mistakes of the past': Rising rents and cost of living pose risk to economy

The Government risks "repeating the mistakes of the past" unless it listens to the National Competitiveness Council's warnings that rising rents and cost of living could topple the Irish economy.

Opposition parties and business groups issued the warning after the Council's report on the safety of the Irish economy raised serious concerns over this country's future financial stability.

In its latest Cost Of Doing Business in Ireland report, the Council said rising rents, the increasing cost of labour and high taxes are threatening the competitiveness of Ireland compared to other countries.

Noting the fact Ireland is a small open economy routinely at risk of a slowing global market, it said there is a genuine risk to the economy if the concerns are not acted on now.

The report also said it believes Ireland's economy is currently stable.

However, responding to the report, Fianna Fáil business spokesperson and MEP candidate Billy Kelleher said the report makes it clear the Government risks "repeating the mistakes of the past" if it fails to take the concerns on board.

The report is a damning indictment on current competitiveness policy and empathetic on Ireland’s position as a high cost location across several cost metrics in property, insurance, transport, energy and business services.

“For example, businesses face punitive costs when getting credit from banks with costs 65% on average higher than European counterparts. Combined with this, car insurance is still 32% higher than in 2013.

“We must learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat them. Successive NCC warnings show that depending on external factors for enhancing cost competitiveness is not a sustainable model," Mr Kelleher said.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform said it was "astonished" by the Council's findings, saying it is ignoring the "ongoing business insurance crisis" which is "putting small businesses and voluntary groups all over the country under such pressure".

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