This article was first published in the June 2015 Ireland issue of Accounting and Business magazine.

For the last number of months the data on the economy in Ireland has all been going in a positive direction. Job creation, tax revenues, retail sales, exports and tourism numbers have been going up – and at a good gallop. Economists can’t upgrade their forecasts quick enough to keep up with the improving sentiment. 

Yet the Fine Gael and Labour coalition are seeing their numbers go in reverse. Even dangling the prospect of a sweetener of Ä1.2bn to Ä1.5bn in spending increases and tax cuts later this year in October’s budget hasn’t lifted their numbers in opinion polls. 

If the 2011 election saw a dramatic shift in Irish politics, then next year’s rerun promises to top that result. The polls already show no clear winner beyond the rise of anti-austerity parties, a surge for independents and new small groupings. 

Political insiders have privately told me they expect that the closer the election gets, the more the coalition will reap the benefits of the economic bounce and their role in steering the ship away from disaster, while traditional political parties will see their core supporters return after their flirtation with new alternatives. 

I wouldn’t be so sure that this narrative will play out. And for the Irish economy that is now a big worry. 

There’s no doubt that anti-austerity parties are here to stay. And it’s a phenomenon that isn’t restricted to post-bailout Ireland. Syriza swept to power in January in Greece on a hugely popular platform of ending the country’s five-year economic depression. In Spain, the grassroots protest movement Podemos could take power – it didn’t exist at all a couple of years ago. 

The eurozone economic crisis has moved off the radar thanks to the extraordinary and unprecedented measures by central banks, although almost nobody believes that we have fully seen it off yet. It’s ongoing legacy is that the biggest risk for Europe, and Ireland, is now political not economic. 

As the election of Syriza and the emergence of its young leader Alexis Tsipras have shown, the goodwill of Europe in trying to help Greece deal with its massive debt mountain has produced nothing other than more uncertainty about its future within the single currency. 

As a country that relies so heavily on foreign investors, Ireland’s looming election is on their agenda. And it matters. Throughout the worst years of crash it was the multinational sector which saw jobs flow in as the likes of Twitter and Airbnb established their European headquarters in Dublin. 

It was US investors who piled in to the banking sector (and made a killing on Bank of Ireland), the property market and even financing the state as bond king Michael Hassenstab became the largest holder of government debt. 

There was a time a couple of years ago when the conversations I had with senior executives at large companies were all about economic policy. Rarely would anyone mention politics. Now it pops up more frequently. 

IDA – the Irish development agency that has been responsible for attracting multinational companies – has been circumspect about how often, and how prominently, political risk features in its presentations to prospective investors. I suspect the agency too is being asked about political stability. 

The danger for Ireland at this crucial time in the recovery is that as the political class gears up for a long campaign into 2016, decisions on investment are delayed or postponed. That is an election outcome nobody should want.