Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today following the speech by the EU Parliament President Martin Schulz called on the EU to stimulate Europe’s economics through “encouraging growth, through stimulus packages and by getting people back to work and most importantly by protecting the most vulnerable of our citizens by protecting public services.”
On the big issue of youth unemployment the Louth TD urged Europe to “go beyond fine words and to give real hope to a generation of young people without work.”
The Sinn Féin leader welcomed President Schulz’s comments on the June deal but the critical issue, around which there is disagreement, is whether this includes a lifting of the legacy of bad banking debt imposed on the Irish people by the last government.
Deputy Adams noted that President Schulz couched his remarks as his “personal opinions”.
Gerry Adams added that from the outset of the economic crisis Sinn Féin has been arguing for a write down of private bank debt. “Bank debt needs to be separated from sovereign debt. And the burden of bad banking debt, the so-called legacy issue which was foisted on the shoulders of the Irish people also needs to be removed.”
Deputy Adams said:
“In the conclusion to recent EU summits there has been much talk about a renewed focus on jobs and growth rather than austerity, but people need to see delivery on these promises.
“European leaders are failing to tackle the jobs crisis. There are 24 million citizens unemployed across the EU and in this state there are 440,000 on the Live Register.
“The scourge of emigration is once more a factor for families and communities, particularly in rural Ireland.
“So, the Eurozone urgently needs investment in jobs, particularly in the periphery states. This can be achieved by among other measures an enlarged investment fund in the European Investment Bank.
“The EU and member states need to focus on stimulating Europe’s economies, encouraging growth through stimulus packages.
“We need to get people back to work and most importantly we need to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens by protecting public services.
“Sinn Féin has long argued that the role of the ECB needs to be re-examined and it needs to fulfil the role of a lender of last resort. ‘
The Louth TD welcomed the comments of President Shulz in which he has called for the greater democratisation of EU institutions but he warned that: “there is a need in Brussels for a recognition of the fact that there is no mandate and there is no popular will in this state for a European super state – a United States if Europe.”
Concluding the Sinn Féin President said:
“In your speech today you recognised communities and citizens across the EU, and particularly our young people, are struggling with sky high levels of unemployment, emigration, under-employment. They are victims of an economic mess caused by the type of austerity policies the Commission is wedded to.
“And what citizens in Ireland and across the European Union is practical leadership.
“You talk eloquently about the need for solidarity.
“You talked about trust being required. But until there is evidence that the European institutions and the governments are focussed on creating jobs, protecting public services, and sheltering the most vulnerable from the outcomes of austerity we will see a continuation of people being alienated from these institutions.
“So a social European Union is what is required, European Union of equals, a European Union that protects our citizens, our rural communities, our young people and most especially those who are marginalised and vulnerable.”