Seán?O'Driscoll: 'Our unit labour costs are still too high'

One of Ireland's largest exporters and manufacturers, the Glen Dimplex Group, has said that labour costs in Ireland still remain between 25-30% higher than other locations in Europe. The chief executive of the company, Seán O'Driscoll, said Ireland had a chance to be a leading green tech producer, but costs were significantly out of line with competitor economies.

O'Driscoll said Glen Dimplex was prepared to make a green tech investment here if appropriate government policies were designed. He said Ireland was a country of "smart people" but a "certain level of arrogance" had developed here in recent years. The company had increased employment in Germany from 600 to 1,200 recently on the back of investments in green technology and renewable energy. He said Denmark was now producing about 25% of its electricity from wind. "That is the kind of opportunity available to Ireland," he said.

O'Driscoll said Glen Dimplex benchmarked all its operations against each other in terms of costs. He said costs here were out of kilter with virtually all other markets in Europe, including Northern Ireland.

"Our unit labour costs are still too high. We have serious issues around competitiveness. We have a considerable way to go." He did acknowledge that costs and wages had started falling since the country fell into recession. The company last week welcomed the publication of the report 'Technology Actions to support the Smart Economy'.