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Time for Government to Outline its Economic Strategy – Morgan

24 June, 2008


Responding to the gloomy forecast contained in the ESRI's latest Quarterly Economic Commentary, Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Economic Affairs Arthur Morgan TD, demanded that the Government outline how it intends to manage the current economic decline and ensure an early recovery.

Morgan was critical of the Government's record of economic management over recent years which he said contributed to the severity of the current slowdown.

Morgan said, "The ESRI in its latest quarterly economic commentary has warned of recession, job losses and renewed emigration. This gloomy forecast comes as no surprise - we all know people who have lost jobs over recent months. The deterioration in the public finances has been stark and is a cause of great concern.

"The question we have to ask is could the worst affects of what we are now experiencing have been avoided? Undoubtedly the answer is yes. The signs were clear that the economy was not based on solid foundations. It was dramatically over dependent on construction, the exchequer was over reliant on taxes related to consumption, and economic growth was being driven by domestic demanded rather than by trade and exports.

"At the same time competitiveness was in decline and there was a far lower uptake of retraining and up-skilling of workers than in other European states. Had the Government acted on these matters it would have enabled the economy to experience at the very least a softer landing.

"There is little or no public confidence in the ability of the Government to manage the current economic difficulties. What we now need is for the Government to restore confidence by outlining its economic strategy to manage what is now being seen as a recession. Such a strategy must include the continued funding of those infrastructure projects that will help restore competitiveness, even where this requires borrowing in excess of the 3% limit permitted in the Stability and Growth Pact.

"There is an urgent need for action on training and up-skilling. There must be no repeat of past mistakes such as the severe cutbacks in public services in the 1980's that we are still feeling the impact of today. The Government needs to outline how it intends to manage the public finances to ensure that revenue is available to pay for essential public services. There must be a firm focus on job creation and identifying and supporting those sectors which can enjoy competitive advantages." ENDS

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