Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has today called on the Government to “do more” to access job creation funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB). His call was made as Sinn Féin revealed that the Fine Gael and Labour government have secured less EIB funds since taking office than the previous Government.
Deputy Doherty said:
“At the core of our current jobs crisis is a lack of investment. Since the start of the crisis, public and private investment has fallen dramatically. In 2011 Ireland was at the bottom of the EU and OECD league table for investment.
“Sinn Féin has long argued that in the absence of private sector investment the Government must fill the vacuum and use all available resources to invest in getting people back to work.
“One key source of funds is the European Investment Bank which provides matching funding for public and private sector job creation projects.
“It will come as a shock to many people that since the start of the crisis in 2008 both the last government and the current government have failed to access vital funds that could be used to get people back to work.
“It will also surprise many people to learn that despite all their pre-election talk of investing in job creation Fine Gael and Labour secured less funds from the EIB during their three years in office than Fianna Fáil did during their last three years in government.
“The Government can and must do more to access this vital source funds for job creation.
“Sinn Féin is also of the view that the EIB does not have sufficient funds to address the EU wide unemployment crisis.
“When the European Union created their permanent bank bailout fund they equipped it with a total fund of €700 billion. Yet despite the jobs crisis the EIB continues to be significantly underfunded.
“In our document today we are calling for a significant increase in the annual lending capacity of the EIB. We are also calling for a change to the matching funding rules from 50:50 to 75:25 for member states whose unemployment level is above the EU average.
“While we are starting to see some job growth in the economy it is nowhere near enough. The government needs to significantly increase the level of direct investment in the domestic economy. Securing a greater level of EIB investment is central to this.
“Fine Gael and Labour must do more to access the funds that are available today. They must also press for an overall increase in the EIB fund and for a change in the rules to enable struggling member states to have access to the funds necessary to drive real job growth.”