Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has today accused the government of ‘economic treachery’ over the proposed sale of state assets.
Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Stanley said:
“While hundreds of thousands languish on the dole queues this government is carrying out economic treachery by handing over €3.1 billion to Anglo Irish in 23 days while also selling off state assets worth €3 Billion.
“The fact is that this government has failed the people utterly as can be seen so clearly by the thousands of people who see no future at home on this island and are instead being forced to emigrate.
“Scenes reminiscent of the worst days of the 1980’s, with thousands queuing up in Cork and Dublin hoping to secure employment overseas. This money for Anglo Irish zombie bank should not be given away to the gamblers of capitalism but should instead be invested in jobs.
“Surely the sale of state assets contradicts the government’s claim that job creation is the single most important goal of this administration.
“The three companies up for sale, Coillte, ESB and An Bord Gais, paid a total of €1.97 billion to the state in dividends over the last ten years. These dividends will be no more if the government has its way.
“Each of these companies has performed extremely well despite the current economic downturn. The decision to hand over €3.1 billion while selling off state assets worth €3 billion is a choice this government did not have to make.
“It is a choice Sinn Féin would not make. Our proposals are simple, clear and focused on benefitting the country and its people. We would use the €3 billion not for lining the pockets of bondholders for to fund a job creation plan.
“Our job creation plan includes the building of 150 additional state run crèches costing €335 million, building an additional 100 schools at a cost of €300 million and the refurbishment of a further 75 at a cost of €50 million.
“We would use the €3.1 billion to fully fund the regeneration projects in Limerick and in Dublin costing €960 million. We would build 50 new Primary Health Care centres at a cost of €250 million, invest €5 million in a Job Activation Programme. With the remaining €400 million Sinn Féin would invest in a household stimulus plan which would protect families and low earners.”
In conclusion Stanley said, “rather than involving themselves in banana republic economics, this government should get real and bin their proposal to sell our state assets.”