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Government policies to blame - Adams

3 March, 2009 - by Pat Sheehan

SINN Féin President Gerry Adams today said it is the policies pursued by the Fianna Fáil Green Party government that has left the state more vulnerable than its European neighbours to the effects of the global economic downturn.

The Sinn Féin President was speaking today during a visit to County Laois where he had a number of engagements in Mountmellick and Portarlington. In June’s Local Government elections Sinn Féin is running six candidates in Laois.

Gerry Adams said:

“Sinn Féin has a strong record of positive work in Laois through the efforts of County Councillor Brian Stanley who has provided very effective local representation to constituents and who has always been at hand to assist local communities. Brian made a significant impact during his term as Mayor of Portlaoise.

“In June Sinn Féin is putting forward a line up of candidates, all of whom work in their local communities. Sinn Féin provides first class representation throughout this island. Our candidates in Laois know the local issues and are already actively seeking to have them addressed.

“A major issue throughout County Laois is that of rising unemployment. Figures recently released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that there are now more than 12,400 people signing on in Laois and Offaly.

“Jobless figures across County Laois have doubled since January 2008.

"Since the beginning of January the number of people signing on the dole in Portlaoise surged to nearly 3,000 according to the latest CSO figures.

"In the space of a year the live register figure in Portlaoise has risen by a phenomenal 120 per cent.

“Despite what government spokespersons would have us believe, these drastic figures are not solely the result of international economic factors. The policies pursued by the government have left this state more vulnerable than most of our European neighbours to the effects of the global economic downturn.

“Policies such as ‘light touch’ regulation of banking and financial institutions, the over-reliance on revenue generated by an over-heated construction industry, the failure to properly assist indigenous industry, to develop an effective export strategy and to plan strategically for the future.

“The government shamefully squandered what was a unique opportunity to develop a modern, progressive economy that could have been the envy of other countries. Now businesses here are closing at an alarming rate and the spectre of emigration has returned.

"But let me clear. Hope is not lost. There is a way forward. The number one priority is to get this country back to work.

“We need the speedy and deliberate targeting of those sectors of the economy where growth is possible. This includes sectors such agri-food, research and development and green technology.

“There is a need for retraining much of the workforce to build the skills base to create and fill new jobs.

“There is plenty of work to do in this country for those construction workers currently facing unemployment. We badly need to build critical infrastructure. We need to build schools to replace prefabs. We need to build decent public transport infrastructure.

“The government must also act to provide immediate assistance for new business start-ups. Funding and expertise for small and medium enterprise must be made available. Government must intervene to ensure that banks provide badly needed credit to ensure viable companies survive.

“An aggressive export strategy is urgently required. This is an area of huge potential. Currently 90 per cent of exports from this state are from foreign-owned multinationals. Irish enterprises must develop their export capacity. It is Government policy that must drive this.

“It is time to provide hope and opportunity at this time of deep uncertainty for Irish businesses and workers.

“It is time for this government to stop talking and start acting.” ENDS

Note to Editors:

The Sinn Féin candidates for Laois/Offaly are:

Offaly County Council Local Election and Tullamore Town Council - Brendan Killeavy

Laois County Council -  Cllr. Brian Stanley

Portlaoise Town Council - Cllr Brian Stanley and Alan Hand

Laois County Council Local Election (Emo Electoral Area) - Aidan Mullins

Laois County Council Local Election, (Mountmellick Electoral Area) - Adam Haughton

Mountmellick Town Council Election - Stephen Lynch

Laois CountyCouncil Local Election,  (Luggecurren Electoral Area) - Marie Johnston

EU candidate Ireland East - Cllr. Tómas Sharkey

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