The tough choices on the Irish economy have already been made, but an editorial in today's Financial Times says early glimmers of optimism should not be mistaken for a return to the carefree days of easy growth.  This comes as the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council warns that fiscal discipline needs to be sustained to reduce the national debt, and that the Government needs to keep a "prudent" fiscal stance in the budget next month. The FT says Ireland is not out of the woods - public debt will remain at dangerous levels for many years, with private debt even worse. It has to fix an unbalanced housing market - with empty ghost estates co-existing with a housing shortage in Dublin. And, the FT says, we will have to rely on exports and attracting overseas investment.

Justin Urquhart Stewart, of 7 Investment Management in the UK, says that while the Government should be careful not to overdo it, a rising level of economic confidence is evident. There are lots of positive signs, he says, including the current account surplus, rising levels of inward investment and an improving property market in Dublin. However, horrific "totems" of the financial crisis continue to exist, including empty ghost estates around the country. 120% of the value of the economy is in national debt, but the Irish economy is getting a boost from the rising economies of our main trading partners, the US and the UK. While the struggling euro zone economy remains a worry, the analyst says that overall the glass is looking more than halfway full.

Mr Urquhart Stewart says the worst thing the Government could do at the moment is to start encouraging everyone to start borrowing again, however he adds that the banks are not "in a fit state" to achieve this yet. He says an overheating of the economy should be avoided, and "slow and steady" progress is much better . While it may sound dull when it comes to running an economy, dull is quite a good thing for a country, he adds. 

In order to avoid "boom and bust cycles", Mr Urquhart Stewart says we have to insure that investment in carried out on a measured basis. He says Ireland is currently faring better than the UK on this issue, due to the uncertainty around the Scottish referendum. One of the main problems facing the Irish economy is the depressive state of the euro zone, including the core states of France and Germany. He points out that the ECB has now cut rates to such an extent that banks are being charged to leave deposits with them. But the ECB is like someone standing around with a "damp box of matches and a wet firework - it's not going off." He says that growth is the euro zone's core should be encouraged - something which is quite difficult to do. He says weak growth will lead to disinflation, which could lead to deflation and which could mean that the core of the euro zone will end up looking like Japan.

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MORNING BRIEFS - A statement from Tesco this morning says it overstated its expected first-half profit by an estimated €250m and has launched a review to find out why. The firm said it discovered the overstatement, made as part of an August 29 profit warning, during its final preparations for its forthcoming interim results, which will now be announced on October 23, rather than October 1. The trading statement is Tesco's third profits warning in a matter of weeks. 

*** Oculus, the virtual reality business Facebook bought in March for $2 billion, is nearing the consumer release of its Rift virtual reality headset. It showed off its new prototype at Connect, a first developer conference held in Los Angeles at the weekend. It has an improved display, motion tracking and audio features that its chief executive said brings the Rift headset "much closer" to a finished product that can be sold at retailers. Although Oculus has set no deadline, the Rift is expected to go on sale next year. It hopes to take VR technology beyond the video games for which the technology is best known and into much more ambitious arenas, from television and video to new forms of social networking and teleconferencing.