Martin Naughton, Chairman of Glen Dimplex, one of Ireland's most successful companies and a trustee on the board of Notre Dame has come out swinging on Ireland's need to restore its stature and kick start its economy.
Mr Naughton has called for the Irish parliament to be halved in size and for the elimination of overseas aid.
Speaking to the Irish Times, the Louth businessman said it was time to cut “extravagance” from the Republic in order to restore the underlying strength of the economy.
Mr Naughton said the State would benefit from a four-year national government but thinks it is unlikely to happen because “we have plenty of politicians but we have very few statesmen”.
He also said that the Irish parliament is too large: “We should halve the size of the Dáil and question do we need a senate and whether we need a standing army or should we have a militia.”
The Dimplex boss claims that overseas aid should be cut when our Government needs to borrow money in order to run the country.
“In my personal opinion, it’s crazy for the Government to borrow money and then give it away in overseas aid. If I couldn’t support my family, I wouldn’t borrow money to give away to philanthropy,” he said.
He thinks cutting the minimum wage is an important step in the the process of recovery and estimates it will take about five years to “rebuild’ Ireland’s economy.
“We are lucky that we have a very sound underlying economy,” he said. “This has given us a good opportunity to sort ourselves out. I believe there are positives in it.”
He warned against high taxation of the country’s management classes, who he argues have an important role to play in fixing the economy.
“You’ll get to a point where you could break that class. It’ll now cost you €10,000 more to be working here than to be working in the UK, and they’ll go. It’s a very delicate balance for the Government. That’s where our future lies – in these people,” he said.
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