Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 18:16 UK

Irish economy - the business view

The Irish economy has officially gone into recession after the economy shrank for the second quarter in a row. Irish businesspeople tell BBC News what it is like trading at the moment.

SIMON BURKE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN SUPERQUINN SUPERMARKETS

"People are now much more value-conscious. The fact that we are now officially in recession isn't going to take anybody in business by surprise - we've been seeing the evidence for months.

Superquinn supermarket

As a food retailer, consumers' agendas have moved to value-for-money.

Whereas a year ago organics, carbon footprints and air-miles were important, they are much less so now.

We have worked hard on our price-points, to convince customers that they are getting value for money.

Looking forward, I don't think the market will change until at least this time next year."

DANNY MCCOY, IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS CONFEDERATION

"The only small silver lining in today's figures is that the traded sector is holding up relatively well in a turbulent global economy, with goods exports growing by 3% in the second quarter.

Danny McCoy

The downturn in the construction sector has now spilled over into the rest of the economy, as consumer spending contracted by 1.4%.

It is clear that the Irish economy is heading for difficult times and the realities of Ireland's economic circumstances must be addressed in the budget and other government policies. "

IBEC represents over 7,500 businesses and organisations across Ireland from all sectors of the economy.

SEAN MURPHY, DIRECTOR OF POLICY, IRISH CHAMBERS

"The big picture here is the unwinding of the construction boom, which has been a dominant feature of the Irish economy.

We've had 10-15 very successful years, but paradoxically this unwinding is making companies focus once again on their international competitiveness.

I am still optimistic about the economy, because when you look at the key indicators - productivity, demographics or foreign direct investment in Ireland - they all remain strong."

Chambers Ireland represents 60 chambers of commerce and 12,000 businesses throughout the island of Ireland.

PAT MCARDLE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, ULSTER BANK

"I think there's going to be a further slowdown in the third quarter of this year, and this will be even bigger than the slowdown we've seen so far in the figures just announced.

The downturn has been led by housing, but the credit crunch and the global slowdown has made that housing slowdown worse than it otherwise would have been.

There has also been a general slowdown, and consumers have cut back on all types of spending - and they've been cutting back even further this summer given the string of bad financial news we've been getting."


SEE ALSO
Irish economy goes into recession
25 Sep 08 |  Business
Celtic Tiger's economy shrinks
30 Jun 08 |  Business
Gloomy forecast for Irish economy
25 Jun 08 |  Northern Ireland
Irish growth tops eurozone league
27 Sep 07 |  Business


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