Speaking in the Seanad today Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty said at a time when 180,000 jobs have been lost in the past year and possibly a further 100,000 could be lost this year the only jobs that Fine Gael propose creating this year is a board of management of yet another quango.
He said Fine Gael are no different to Fianna Fáil and are wedded to misguided policy of privatisation.
Senator Doherty said, "The Fine Gael party have shown, with these proposals that they are no different from Fianna Fáil and are wedded to the misguided policy of privatisation. They have learned nothing from Ireland’s disastrous experience of privatisation which has helped to lead us into the current economic crisis.
"Any claim that they will not repeat the mistake made with Eircom is immediately rubbished with proposals to sell off Bord Gáis, ESB International and Aer Rianta International. These are all profitable state companies with strategic importance to the economic development of the state. To be advocating the sale of these very valuable state assets at a time when the price would be at rock bottom exposes immature economic thinking.
"These proposals are reckless in the extreme. They are aimed at making short term gains at serious risk to the economy and at a longer term and much larger loss to consumers and the state. Now is not the time for short term stop gap measures. What is required is strategic thinking with a vision to bring about long term sustainable economic growth.
"The lessons must be learned from the disastrous privatisations of Eircom and Aer Lingus. We must also learn the lesson from Enron’s disastrous privatisation of California’s electricity sector and the implications it had for California’s economy.
"At a time when 180,000 jobs have been lost in the past year and possibly a further 100,000 could be lost this year the only jobs that Fine Gael propose creating this year is a board of management of yet another quango.
"Unfortunately at a time when the country requires new thinking and innovative ideas it seems all Fine Gael can come up with is more of the same.
"Sinn Féin has proposed a €2.3billion stimulus package to create and retain jobs including the building of major pieces of critical public infrastructure such as schools and houses. We cannot simply cut and tax our way out of this economic crisis. The Government’s focus must be the creation and retention of jobs." ENDS