Councillor Kathleen Funchion - Impact of austerity - Ard Fheis
A Cairde, For far too long the ordinary working people of this state have been carrying the burden of austerity, firstly by the Fianna Fail led government and more recently by the FG/Lab government, every day we see the human cost of austerity, the real and very damaging effects it is having on the lives of families across this state
We see children going to school hungry. Young people emigrating in their droves.
We see cut backs in our schools and hospitals. Teaching posts lost and class numbers increasing.
Hospital beds closed and patients lying on trolleys.
Businesses closing and people losing their jobs.
Our domestic economy is on the floor.
440,000 people are out of work. 150,000 more have emigrated.
1,600 businesses shut their doors last year. Many more are struggling to stay afloat.
Families are making tough decisions every day as they struggle to pay for basic necessities.
But of course it does not have to be like this. There is a better and a fairer way.
We need to change course. Cutting and hacking away at public services is not the answer.
Empting the pockets of low/middle incomes families is not the answer. We need to recognise that austerity is not working. We need a strategy based on growth and investment. One that creates jobs and gets people back to work.
One that grows our domestic economy and offers real stability.We in Sinn Féin have published our proposals. We are calling for a three-year investment package of €13 billion focusing on infrastructure and new enterprises.
This money would be sourced from the National Pension Reserve Fund, matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment from the private pension sector.
This could create some 40,000 jobs per year. Similar proposals are also being put forward by SIPTU and ICTU. The Government needs to take heed of what is happening across Europe and join with the growing demand for a move away austerity. We the citizens need to demand a new plan from our government, one based on growth; investment and getting people back to work.