When you think of Irish industry, what comes to mind?
A success story no doubt, a leading light in the recovery of the Irish economy after the global financial crash of ten years ago, built on technology companies, food and beverage, and the all-important life sciences sector. That 10-year viewpoint is a useful one – it really shows what can be done. So, let’s throw it 10 years forwards.
What does the future hold for Irish industry – where can it go, what should it look like, and what are the challenges that we must overcome?
At the core of industry in 10 years’ time, I expect to see the continued development of life sciences. Pharmaceutical companies and medical product manufacturers have a very comfortable home in Ireland, and long may that continue.
Similarly, the impressive Irish food and beverage sector will remain strong – both of these stalwarts of Irish industry are undergoing changes in the era of industry 4 that will present challenges, but on balance they have a fantastic opportunity to go from strength to strength under good, strategic management coupled with the right support from government.
But there is much more to Irish industry, and there is a huge opportunity for us to grow smaller or less mature aspects of industry and to build our reputation, output and productivity.
In fact, it is even possible to argue that the best route to industrial growth over the next ten years in Ireland comes from industrial diversification.