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Governments economic strategy must focus on jobs

7 April, 2009

Speaking to the media ahead of this afternoon’s emergency budget Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald MEP said that government must ensure that those with the broadest shoulders carry the heaviest load noting that “the 32% of workers who earn €18,500 or less a year and social welfare recipients cannot be targets for the governments new taxation measures.”

Ms McDonald said:

"Today’s budget must include measures to stimulate the economy as well as stabilise it. If the government continues to confuse economics with bookkeeping then Ireland is in serious trouble. Sinn Féin's emergency budget submission to the government contains not only progressive measures to tackle in the short term the growing budget deficit but importantly we set out 80 costed proposals on how to stimulate the economy including a €300 million job retention fund. Our measures include all-Ireland economic development, education and training and measures to stimulate consumer spending.

“Minister Lenihan stated last night that those who earn the most must pay the most, if this be the case then I put it to the Minister that he needs to lead from the front. Sinn Féin in its emergency budget submission called on government to cap TDs salaries to  €80,000 and Senators to  €60,000. We also called for a reduction in Junior Ministers to five and for the removal of al allowances payable to the Chairpersons, Vice Chairperson and Whips of the 23 Oireachtas Committees and 5 sub-committees 2009.

“The Minister also needs to look at the salaries of the 214 civil servants who earn €150,000+, 342 who earn €120,000+, 1,389 who earn €100,000+ and 3,897 who earn €80,000 and above.

“With the right strategy in place the economy can be turned around. We have an opportunity to reshape the country. A recovery plan must focus on ensuring we come out of this recession ready for the future – that we have the infrastructure, skills and public services that will put us at the top of competiveness rankings, as well as delivering an improved quality of life for all our people.

“The budget deficit must be dealt with. However getting Ireland back to work is the essential first step to resolving the current crisis. Unfortunately all indications are that this will be the fundamental ingredient missing from this afternoons budget.” ENDS

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