In yesterday’s Sunday Business Post, I argued that the IMF deal can change the Irish legal system for the better, reflecting arguments I have already made here and here.
The IMF deal has provoked a great deal of discussion, from its impact on our political and economic sovereignty, through the details of tax increases, state spending cuts and the implementation timetable, to the question of whether it needs to be ratified by Dáil resolution or even referendum. But there is a lot more to it than that.
IMF packages typically require structural reform to open the labour market and encourage competition in goods and services. The memorandum of understanding between the IMF and our government is no different. It requires the government to introduce legislation to remove restrictions on trade and competition in professions such as law, medicine and pharmacy. …
The IMF memorandum made it clear that all of the necessary legislation must be enacted by the end of the third quarter of 2011. This is probably not an impossible target, as these recommendations were not new in 2005 and 2006: many of them had been made in a report in 1990. Moreover, many other jurisdictions have already been down the same road. .. There are, therefore, many precedents to aid the Department of Justice in drafting the necessary legislation. It is unfortunate that successive governments have not implemented these reports.
Read the full piece here. Picking up on this, Rossa McMahon has rather dryly observed that the Government could help bring down legal costs overnight, but won’t. He concluded that if the IMF reforms “are implemented in the relatively short timeframe of the programme, they would represent something of a Big Bang for the professions”.