George O’Leary Zoom Meeting with Minister McGrath
Report on my meeting with Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Mr. Michael McGrath TD on the 26/11/2020:
My name is George O’Leary, and on the 26/11/2020, I had the unique opportunity to meet (remotely) with Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Mr. Michael McGrath TD regarding my YEOTY (young economist of the year) success as a TY IGEES winner. My winning project, entitled “When China Sneezes, Ireland Catches a Cold”, was an in-depth analysis on the early (January-February 2020) effects of the covid-19 pandemic on the world’s biggest economies. As part of my study, I also discovered that there was a lack of balanced information provided by the Government to Irish companies exporting to the Chinese market. My summary / recommendation was to take into consideration the potential risks for Irish exporting companies when entering the huge Chinese market.
I asked Minister McGrath a question in relation to the huge amount of money that Ireland borrowed to pay for the effects of the Covid-19 crisis (which the country was most grateful for) & how the Government planned to pay that back without it affecting future generations. His answer was great as he pointed out that before covid-19, the national debt was around €200 Bn, and while by the end of next year it will be approximately €240 Bn (a 20% increase), the country borrowed the money at historically low interest rates (close to 0%). However, the debt will have to be refinanced in the future, so it’s very important that the public finances are managed in a responsible and sustainable way. As it happens, Ireland is doing well compared to other EU countries.
Glenstal’s 2nd year (the entire business class) also won a medal each for their projects in the Young Economist of the Year, which is incredible seeing as very few, if not any full class ever gets a medal each. I gave a speech to the 2nd years about my meeting with Minister McGrath and my project. Glenstal did very well this year in terms of YEOTY.
As it happens, the day of my meeting was also Thanksgiving, therefore the 2nd year business class, Glenstal’s US students & I had a pizza party to celebrate.