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Cowen offers no way forward for 2009 - real strategy needed - O Caoláin

4 January, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, commenting on Taoiseach Brian Cowen's interview on RTE's This Week programme, has said the Fianna Fáil leader offered no way forward for 2009 beyond massive public spending cuts and wage cuts for workers. On Lisbon the Sinn Féin Dáil leader said the Government was using scare tactics to force a second referendum.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Taoiseach has called on people to pull together in the current economic crisis but this can only be done on the basis of a real strategy for economic recovery. The Fianna Fáil leader has offered no way forward for 2009 beyond further massive cuts in public services. He has also signalled wage cuts for workers with even the paltry increases under the 2008 partnership deal under threat.

"The folly of cutting vital public services is seen in the Government's attacks on education. Our education system is the most important foundation for rebuilding the economy yet it is being undermined by cuts imposed in 2008 with more to follow this year. Similarly the health service took years to recover from the cuts of the 1980s and now even worse is in store. The effects of all of these public service cutbacks will be to further depress the economy.

"What is needed now is a strategy to create jobs, especially in small and medium enterprises soundly based in the local and regional economy. The Government supports provided to multinational companies needs to be matched by support for such businesses who are at present the worst hit by the credit crunch. Support is urgently needed for home owners facing repossession and the Government should impose a two-year moratorium on home repossessions. A programme of social housing construction would address the massive housing waiting lists and help revive employment in construction.

"The Taoiseach confirms the Government intention to force a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I believe 2009 will see the use of scare tactics by supporters of Lisbon who will threaten dire economic consequences if we vote 'No' again. Such tactics cannot hide the fundamental flaws in the Lisbon Teaty nor the gross mismanagement of the economy by this Fianna Fáil-Green government." ENDS

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