A few years ago Ireland looked down and out. There were predictions that Ireland was finished and would never recover from the debts built up.

Now, suddenly, Ireland is on the up. We are out of the bailout. The economy is predicted to grow by 2% next year. However, some forecasters expect that to be nearer 3%.

The 2014 budget is expected to be the last austerity budget. It’s said that the Government will have to make £2bn worth of cuts next year. Some people are saying that if economic growth is greater than 2% they won’t need to cut so much and may not even have to cut anything at all in 2014 if growth is at the higher end.

House prices are rising in Dublin. The shop tills were ringing on St. Stephen’s Day and there were record online purchases.

The Irish Stock Market rose by 30% this year after 20% last year as share buyers look forward to a brighter future.


In Inishowen, tourist numbers were up on last year. In this area local business people, outside the construction industry, are telling me that business is improving.

People are starting to go out again and the pubs are starting to resemble the old days – especially over this festive period.

Of course, this increase in business is from low levels and is nowhere near the boom times. However, shops like Gillens and Centra have bigger queues now as shoppers forsake Derry and shop at home. You see a lot more people with shopping trolleys these days.

Cultured Gathering

Derry’s City of Culture has had an effect locally, especially during the Fleadh. The Year of the Gathering was a big success too. The DylanFest, which got on both programmes, had its best turnout for years.

The Year of the Gathering was the big idea of James McIvor’s cousin Enda Kenny. Indeed Enda attended the family Gathering where James and The Yetis performed as the headline act and were praised by the Taoiseach.

Worst Over

2013 was the year when the rot stopped and the economy turned round. It’s been a terrible time but the worst is over. We can now look forward to years of economic growth and the economy getting back on track.

When the Caiseal Mara opens in Moville that will really cement the recovery around here.

For the first time in many years, the future looks bright.