Government needs a real plan to get people back to work – Sinn Féin
Speaking at a press conference today the Sinn Féin jobs spokesperson Peadar Tóibín has said that “only Government led investment in job creation will tackle the unemployment crisis and lead to growth and recovery.” Deputy Tóibín said “The fact is the government can’t have it both ways. You cannot have a twin track approach. The choice is austerity or investment in jobs. This Treaty would prevent the type of government led investment which is needed for economic recovery in this State. Deputy Tóibín said:
“Today the newly elected French President Francoise Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet to discuss the Austerity Treaty and the issue of austerity versus growth.
“The fact is that you can’t have it both ways. You cannot have a twin track approach. The choice is austerity or investment in jobs. This Treaty is about austerity and measures in it that would prevent the type of government led investment which is needed for economic recovery in this State.
“Sinn Féin has put forward positive proposals on job creation in every year since the crisis began. In each of our budget submissions we have argued for the need to invest in jobs and make job creation in the private sector possible; to remove the banking burden from taxpayers; and to reduce the deficit through fair taxation and eliminating public spending waste.
“It is clear that the Fine Gael and Labour government are not serious about job creation. They have talked about jobs but they have refused to introduce any meaningful jobs investment programme since taking office. They have done little to help the domestic economy.
“The result is that there are 440,000 people signing on, more than 70,000 emigrated in the last year. Long term unemployment is endemic. Youth unemployment is endemic.
“On the basis of the Government’s own projections by 2015 unemployment will still be at least 11.7%. Most commentators consider this a conservative estimate. This is not good enough.
“Sinn Féin is calling for a three year investment package in the region of €13 billion focusing on infrastructure and new enterprises. This money would be sourced from the discretionary portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund, matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment from the Private Pension sector. Such a fund would directly create in the region of 130,000 jobs over three years, or an average of 40,000 jobs per year.
“This level of investment could save potentially €800 million per annum in social welfare and bring in a massive increase in revenue receipts, directly and through the wider economy. In addition a €600 million job retention fund could keep up to 96,000 people in their jobs for one year.
“This is the kind of money needed to kick-start the Irish economy and to create jobs. Similar proposals have been made by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. They have proposed a €15 billion investment package. SIPTU have also proposed a major investment programme of €10 billion.
“It is time for the Government to stop sitting on the side-lines and talking about jobs. They need to start investing in jobs. Such an approach is simply not compatible with the harsh rules contained in the Austerity Treaty. Passing the Treaty will significantly tie the hands of this and future Governments to lead the kind of investment required to tackle the unemployment crisis."