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Doherty calls for development of all Ireland economy

29 October, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Need for harmonisation of labour laws, tax regimes and currency

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said differing tax regimes, currencies and labour laws across Ireland are hampering the development of a real all Ireland economy.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement today Senator Doherty said cross border shopping will continue to cause problems on either side of the border until such a time as an all Ireland economy is developed and expanded.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said:

“The development of a real all Ireland economy is being hampered by different labour laws, a widening tax differential and the different currencies on the Island.

“We have all seen and heard at this stage of the problems associated with price differentials on either side of the border. At the moment this differential is benefiting businesses on the Northern side of the border at the expense of Southern side. However, in time, as we have seen in the past, the benefit will shift and cause problems on the other side of the border.

“The price differential, and the problems associated with it, arise from both the different currencies and the different tax regimes operating on either side of the border. At a time when prices in the North were attracting shoppers from the South the Government here actually increased the rate of VAT increasing prices and decreasing consumers’ spending capabilities.

“We also have a situation which sees Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI on a competitive footing ignoring the benefits of joining together to lobby for jobs for the benefit of regions that share the border on both sides. Differing labour laws on either side of the border puts the different regions in competition with each other in a race to the bottom to attract investors.

“This should not be the case and nor does it have to be. In my view, in order to develop a real all Ireland economy, we must look at harmonising our tax regimes, our labour laws and our currencies. Only when we do this can the benefits and potential of the all Ireland economy be allowed to develop for the benefit of the whole island.” ENDS

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