Titled ‘Metamorphosis’, the De La Salle educated Power’s weighty tome was recently launched by European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and Labour Deputy Ruairi Quinn.
Both former Finance Ministers also penned contributions to the book, with Commissioner McCreevy providing the foreword while Deputy Quinn wrote the introduction.
“In this book, Con Power has distilled a lifetime’s experience as an influential participant in the development of Ireland’s social and economic policy,” writes Mr McCreevy.
“In the current period of global economic and financial turbulence, we can learn from Ireland’s experience in managing change successfully in times of adversity: Con Power’s analysis, in effect, constitutes a self-help manual for business inputs to the process of national economic and social policy formulation.
In his introduction, Ruairi Quinn says the author tells the tale of Ireland’s economic emergence in “a most interesting and comprehensive way”.
He adds: “He is uniquely qualified because he was a player, in his role as Director of Economic Affairs within the Confederation of Irish Industry (CII), from 1979 to 1993. It was a hard journey, which recent prosperity has obscured.
“This book has arrived at a very appropriate moment. Most Irish people under the age of 40 have no experience of a recession, let alone a depression. Those that do may understand that some of the old solutions to our problems in the past are no longer available to us now.
“We should not be despondent, as economic recovery and success have been achieved before in difficult times and with fewer resources. This book is a good place to start learning from our successful past.”
Mr Power, who has enjoyed a successful career in Dublin, was a founding director of the Institute of International and European Affairs back in 1991.
His book is an account from his professional perspective, based primarily at the CII, which played a key role in national economic initiatives between 1979 and 1993.
“There are consistent and recurrent themes throughout the CII campaigns from 1979 to 1993 that remain relevant in Ireland today,” according to Con Power.
“There is a continuing need for the generation of economic awareness on a broad basis within the community, and for social partnership to unite all stakeholders in the common objective of sustaining growth and ensuring equity in resource distribution.
“There is a continuing need for vigilance in the management of the public finances, and to guard against community expectations and aspirations outstripping economic reality. Associated with this is the need for vigilance about the level of inflation, especially Government-generated inflation.
He added: “In relation to promoting an environment for enterprise, there is a need for a balanced approach to business legislation, business taxation, and employee issues, including employee shareholding and participation.
“Education and training needs to be up-dated constantly in line with, and even ahead of, international best practice. Challenges remain in infrastructure development, balanced regional development, and environmental protection and enhancement.
“Putting together all of the elements, there is a requirement for a dynamic in identifying national business growth sectors in the light of international developments and of the ongoing international reallocation of product and service specialisations.”
Much was learned in Ireland in this regard in the decade and a half prior to the Celtic Tiger era, Con Power feels.
“It is vital that these lessons, then learned the hard way, are not forgotten; they remain relevant not only for Ireland, but for the new and aspirant Member
States of the EU and for developing economies throughout the world.”
‘Metamorphosis’ is available directly from www.oaktreepress.com
(ISBN 978-1-904887-27-0) with the hardback priced at €45