High inflation, low interest rates, a troubled banking system. All signs of an economic meltdown. Or just the luck o’ the Irish. How does Ireland plan to get out of the mess it is in? Joe Harford, chairman, National Institute of Bioprocessing and Training, who was part of an Irish trade delegation to India, says that the Irish language Gaelic is similar to Sanskrit. For instance, kula is Sanskrit for family and the Gaelic word is coolain. And as families are wont to do, Ireland is hoping India will help bail it out.
Tapping India for financial aid is not new for Ireland. During the Irish Potato Famine of 1845, the first contribution in a steady stream of financial aid came from Calcutta, and wealthy princes and committees across the subcontinent followed suit.
Ireland’s ambassador to India Kenneth Thompson says: “Ireland is open for business and we welcome Indian companies.” The Irish Investment Development Agency (IDA), which conducts tours to woo investments from India, has gone into overdrive. Firms such as Tata Consultancy Services, Crompton Greaves, Ranbaxy, and Wockhardt already have offices there, says Minakshi Batra, director in India for IDA, adding that “office leases and rents are down by 45% to 80% and wages by 20%”. Investments from India over the past couple years have dwindled but Batra is optimistic and expects “investments worth $100 million in the next year”.