FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has predicted that Ireland will have a great future once the current debt crisis is solved.
Mr Noonan made his comments at the University of Limerick where he received a honorary life membership of the Debating Union for his dedication to political work.
Around fifty students attended the event during which Mr Noonan reflected on his 38 years in politics and spoke of his confidence for the future.
Speaking candidly he said the outgoing Fianna Fail administration left him and his government colleagues with an enormous job to restore Ireland’s tattered reputation across Europe.
However, he said he is confident Ireland has a bright future.
“I think we can get out of this phase. You apply yourself and you work your way out of it. If you wanted to describe the crisis in Ireland in one word – debt. The solution is solve the sovereign debt problem, solve the banking debt problem and solve the personal debt problem and this country will start growing so fast it will be unbelievable,” Mr Noonan said.
Directly addressing the students, he encouraged them to continue with their third level education for as long as possible – even after they graduate.
“You are lucky to be in college at present because you are kind of sheltered from the storm – the economic storm. If you are out working at the moment, you are out there in a tough environment. In college, you are sheltered and getting an opportunity to develop your skills as you develop your education,” he said adding that they will have opportunities when they complete there studies.
“By the time you graduate, the economy will be lifting again and there will be job opportunities again. Stick at what you are doing. Stay as long as you can – don’t let them throw you out. When you graduate start thinking of further qualifications whether it is a masters or a diploma. There are skills shortages already emerging in our economy – shortage of people in the computer and the agri-food industries,” he told the students.