The boss of one of Ireland's biggest manufacturing companies says a five-year wage freeze is needed for Ireland to regain competitiveness.

Sean O'Driscoll, of Glen Dimplex, said that Germany had shown that countries can return to strong economic growth through wage restraint.

Around 100 of the country's business and political leaders gathered in Dublin today at the Sean Lemass International Forum to discuss the future of manufacturing in this country.

The consensus at the forum was that the manufacturing industry can continue in Ireland but only if competitiveness improves, labour costs reduce, and education levels increase.

Other speakers at the forum included the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan, IDA Ireland's CEO Barry O'Leary and the forum's patron TK Whittaker, who served as secretary of the Department of Finance under Sean Lemass.