Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín TD described the Strategic Investment Fund as a half-hearted proposal, warning that government’s decision to limit the fund to a commercial purpose will in effect exclude investments that would be of significant and immediate benefit to the state and to its citizens.
The Sinn Féin Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson said:
“Ireland’s economy is entering into the second half of a lost decade. By failing to intervene in the economic cycle this government, like the last, has in effect deepened the crisis and lengthened its timescale.
“At every turn Sinn Féin has urged the government to tailor their stimulus response to match the size of the economic challenge the country faces. Ambitious investment in critical infrastructure will increase productivity and investment opportunities.
“Investment will also make it easier for local businesses to thrive and make Ireland more attractive to foreign direct investment, delivering a social dividend to thousands of families sinking into poverty.
“Failure to commit the National Pension Reserve Fund monies to an ambitious programme of state investment is a damning indictment on the government. And the NPRF’s new manifestation is yet another insipid and inflexible investment mechanism resulting in another lost opportunity for the Irish people.
“In response to the Strategic Investment Fund, Social Justice Ireland has expressed its regret that the government did not take a broader perspective to assist investment in public services and facilities whose socio-economic benefits would far outweigh their costs over their lifetime. Sinn Féin supports this view.
“By deciding to limit the purpose of the fund to commercial investment the government is in effect excluding investments that would be of significant and immediate benefit to the state and to its citizens.
“Recent jobs figures present a worrying picture, as does the sentiment expressed by businesses. Jobs growth is grinding to a halt. The meagre increase in employment of recent months has begun to recede, with losses felt most acutely in middle income jobs.
“Expectations and confidence is waning as the government seeks to rifle family pockets yet again, this time with the water charge. Retail, the weather vein of the Irish economy, has lost 5,600 jobs in the last quarter.
“Real investment is needed and the Strategic Investment Fund is a half-hearted proposal that limits itself to a purely commercial programme of investment making it too little too late.”