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Wednesday, 17th April 2024
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Ireland - how it became the envy of Europe Back  
A look back at some of the major events that helped Ireland become the envy of Europe
Terence O'Rourke, Managing partner, KPMG
To anyone not involved in the financial services sector, 1987 may have seemed a year like any other. Two years before the Berlin Wall came down. Five years after the Falklands War. Just four years later, The Commitments was still able to portray Ireland and particularly north side Dublin as a depressed, grey and gloomy place, needing a good dose of soul music to inject some life into the young citizens.

But for the financial community 1987 was a year like no other - it was the start of two new and very brave initiatives. The IFSC was born - along with Ken O'Brien's FINANCE magazine. The past twenty years, as reflected in the clear waters of George's Dock or in the pages of FINANCE magazine have been truly astonishing. Physically a new world-class, high-skilled financial community was built, far outgrowing what once seemed like a very ambitious 12 acre site. FINANCE magazine reported success after success, innovation after innovation till we are no longer surprised at the tax take from IFSC companies alone contributing €1.1bn in tax revenues to the exchequer in 2006.

And for the accountancy profession it has also been an eventful but very successful 20 years. 1987 started off with Stokes Kennedy Crowley but by that year end, the first of the global accountancy mega mergers had given us KPMG. Soon SKC was only to live on in the earnest advice of taxi drivers on how the Lotto could be further improved.

FINANCE magazine has ably charted the development of the profession for the past 20 years, as we supported, and grew with, the extraordinary success of Ireland's new international financial services centre. The annual FINANCE magazine survey of accountancy firms is now the accepted barometer of our progress and competitive triumphs.

1987 (you are beginning to see it really was a very special year) also saw a new government whose sea-change in economic policies laid the foundations of what became, in the 1990s and the current decade, unparalleled success for the Irish economy with virtual full employment and a strong fiscal position- the envy of Europe.

We have been privileged to live through these two stunning decades. N? fheicmid a leith?ad ar?s, I suspect. If we do, then 2027 in Ireland will be, like today would have been in 1987, literally unimaginable. Where are you now, Jimmy Rabbite?

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