Reasons for Ireland's strong Economic Performance - prudent management of the economy under successive Governments which has led to lower interest rates and increased investor and consumer confidence; ? the consensus approach in successive agreements between the social partners which has resulted in moderate nominal pay increases, industrial peace and broad maintenance of competitiveness; ? the strong growth in foreign direct investment which has raised capacity, particularly in exporting industries; - the contribution of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds which have added to domestic demand but which, more importantly, have improved the infrastructure and productive capacity of the economy; and ? the benefits of very substantial investment in education and training over many years which have raised the productive capacity of our labour force.