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Irish Unity makes Economic Sense

12 February, 2009

Speaking at a public meeting in Limerick tonight on ‘Why Irish Unity makes Economic Sense’ Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams noted “it is now time to end the nonsense of two competing economies on this island with two administrations, two health services, two education systems, two investment bodies with separate strategies and two different tax regimes. Irish Unity is not just a dearly held republican aspiration. It is an economic imperative.”


Mr. Adams said:


“This is an historic year, marking as it does the 90th anniversary of An Chéad Dáil Éireann. At Dublin's Mansion House just a few weeks ago Irish republicans gathered in large numbers to celebrate that momentous event and to once again rededicate ourselves to the objectives of Irish independence, national unity and social equality proclaimed by the First Dáil.


“Sinn Féin's commitment and strategy for Irish unity distinguishes us from all other Irish political parties, some of whom may proclaim republican credentials but who have neither a strategy nor the political will to bring about republican objectives.


“The economic challenges before us are huge but they can be overcome with honest leadership and decisive action. The starting point must be stimulating the economy. This means measures to encourage economic growth, economic strategies which invest in jobs, in people and in public services.


“It means ending the nonsense of two competing economies on this island with two administrations, two health services, two education systems, two investment bodies with separate strategies and two different tax regimes.


“Irish Unity is not just a dearly held republican aspiration. It is an economic imperative. In short Irish unity makes economic sense A considerable market of six million people exists on the island of Ireland.  Over three million workers across Ireland have fuelled extraordinary economic growth in the past 10 years.


“Despite these developments the continuing partition of Ireland creates impediments to economic development. These impediments cost individuals and businesses on a daily basis. They cost the island economy hundreds of millions each year. The identification and removal of these costs will create efficiencies, employment, wealth and opportunity across Ireland.


“Economic planning and development on the island of Ireland has been carried out in a 'back-to-back' fashion for decades. Due to a lack of joined-up development in areas such as road, rail, air and sea transport, businesses have suffered major transportation costs and large isolated regions have suffered reduced economic opportunity.


“Constant fluctuations in the areas of VAT, Corporation Tax, Excise Duties and Currency create barriers to economic development on both sides of the border.  These differentials cost millions in tax revenue. Fluctuations in these areas also prevent long term planning and investment.


“The border costs money through wasteful duplication; e.g. Invest NI and the IDA currently pay for separate offices in New York, Boston, Southern California, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei and Mumbai. Duplication exists at nearly every level of Irish administration.


“Despite all this progress is being made and a number of things have been achieved to date on the road to creating an all-Ireland economy. The newly developed All Ireland Energy Market provides for a competitive, sustainable and reliable Electricity and Gas market on the island of Ireland. It aims to deliver long-term economic and social benefits to communities’ right across Ireland.


“Tourism Ireland is an all-Ireland body designed to efficiently promote Ireland abroad. They have done this with much success in key source markets, such as Britain, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Australia.


“InterTradeIreland was set up by the Good Friday Agreement to develop North/South business opportunities. Since 2003 over 1,300 businesses from all over Ireland have benefited from their help, creating hundreds of jobs and generating hundreds of millions of euros of trade.


“In future, Ireland, north or south can not afford to develop the island in a disjointed manner. The development of Derry City Airport, the Dublin-to-Belfast Motorway and the Monaghan-to-Derry dual carriageway are prime examples of joined up thinking that brings economic benefits to all. To ensure seamless and strategic economic development the island of Ireland must plan and implement as one.


“VAT, Excise and Corporation Tax differentials along with sterling depreciation cost our economy dearly and create crippling disadvantages for both jurisdictions. As a result an All Ireland Economic Committee made up of decision makers from the Dáil and the Assembly must be constituted in order steer both jurisdictions towards convergence in these areas.


“Given the severe pressure being placed on public service budgets by the current crash in government revenue, duplication in service provision on the island of Ireland cannot be allowed continue. A root and branch review of all services must be undertaken to integrate services. This review will ensure the quality provision of services to our citizens and will reap savings from the efficiencies gained.


“The recent scandal of Dioxin contaminated Irish pork products is an example of the need for a joint Ministerial approach towards our international food brand. Agriculture like other sectors naturally operates on an all-Ireland basis. As a result it is imperative that the Irish food brand be safeguarded by all Ireland standards. This necessitates an all-Ireland agricultural body to implement such standards.


“Universities Ireland was set up in 2003 to promote co-operation between the nine universities across the island of Ireland. Third level education is well placed to act as an engine of growth in the emerging knowledge economy. In order to ensure potential is reached, further cooperation and integration in this area should be facilitated.  Universities Ireland should be constituted on a similar basis to InterTradeIreland.


“Sinn Féin is working to build a united Irish economy. But such an objective is only important to us if it serves the needs of Irish society and not the other way around.


“Ireland today needs a new standard of patriotism that is not in thrall to gombeenmen, bankers and profiteers. The foundation stone of that patriotism is the Democratic Programme of An Chéad Dáil.


“Republican values and republican politics have never been so relevant or so necessary.


“Irish unity makes sense politically, economically and socially. Ever growing numbers of people are seeing the logic of this proposition. Sinn Féin is committed to the task of turning that aspiration into a reality but we need more people to become involved. I hope many of you here tonight will join us in this work in the time ahead.” ENDS






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