Speaking at the launch of his party’s job creation plan Sinn Féin spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín said:
“In the last four years Ireland has shed more jobs than any other western state per capita since the Great Depression. Last year the economy lost 33,400 jobs. In 2011 our communities lost 87,000 to emigration.
“It is clear that government policy is not working. The government has paid lip service to job creation. Their ambitions for this state are limited to Troika-led retrenchment. Private investment has reduced by €30 billion. Government has withdrawn €24 billion.
“We have identified €13 billion which can be sourced to create jobs, improve competitiveness and increase productivity. This would be funded from the National Pension Reserve Fund, European Investment Bank, incentivised investment from the private pension sector and we would end the capital spending cuts of this government.
“An investment of this scale would create about 156,000 jobs and retain up to 15,000 existing jobs. Smart investment will secure sustainable jobs and our national competitiveness into the future.
“Our jobs plan will invest in essential infrastructure; help entrepreneurs by removing obstacles to doing business and supporting them to retain and create new jobs; exploit the potential of existing and new state enterprises particularly in broadband rollout, renewable energy and eco-tourism and invest in agri-food and rural communities.
“As part of this we will prioritise investment to:
•Revive the sugar beet industry and construct a new bio-refinery plant in the South East with the potential to create 5,000 jobs (€350 million)
•Invest in the rollout of next generation broadband across the 26 counties. (€2.5 billion)
•Kick start investment in water infrastructure (€500 million.)
•Proceed with A5 dual carriageway (€400 million)
•Regenerate the Cork dockland area. (€600 million)
•Regeneration projects in Limerick and Dublin. (€960 million)
•Build an additional 100 schools and refurbish 75 more over the next three years in addition to current capital commitments. (€350 million)
•Establish 50 new Primary Health Care Centres. (€250 million)
•Develop an €1billion investment in sustainable energy: wind power industry and wave energy.
“We will seek to support business to create jobs by:
•Introducing a job retention scheme to protect 15,000 jobs (€100 million)
•Delivering value for money and jobs by opening up state procurement to small companies.
•Giving the option to self-employed people to pay PRSI as it is applied to PAYE employees in order to receive the same entitlements in the event that they become unemployed.
•Abolishing upward only rents.
•Capping utility costs for a period of three years.
•Examine a temporary rebate on fuel for transport firms.
•Prioritising prompt payments by ensuring the 15-day rule is adhered to by state agencies.
•Examining the use of tax credits for sourcing local Irish produced materials.
•Tackling the costs of doing business on the border, including credit card transaction fees, telecommunication charges and dual tax and payroll systems.
“Sinn Féin has developed a comprehensive, costed and government-ready proposal to chart a course out of recession and into growth. We want to see the government meet the gravity of the crisis with the appropriate response. Historic levels of unemployment and emigration need a profound shift in government policy.”