Government spins on stimulus while people wait for jobs
Sinn Fein finance and enterprise spokespersons and Pearse Doherty and Peadar Toibín, said today that the government is spinning on stimulus while people are waiting for real action on jobs. They said the announcement was too little for the people on the dole and too late for the people who have left the state.
While welcoming the government’s concession that stimulus is needed - Deputies Doherty and Toibin said the government cut the capital budget last year and intends to cut it next year and the following year, meaning a slashing of long-term, stable investment which leads to tangible jobs.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Today the government announced a multi-annual stimulus plan of €2.25 billion which will span up to 2018. Yet the government still intend to proceed with cutting the capital budget by over €3.5 billion between now and 2014. How you can claim that spending €2.25 billion on capital projects, while cutting cumulatively €3.5 billion from capital investment, is a stimulus, is beyond me.
“The projects announced today are all worthy and there are many more across every county that haven't made the list. That is why Sinn Fein has been arguing for a real stimulus package with additional money that would go some way to filling the gaps in our health, education, energy and other vital infrastructure needs, over a period of three years, while at the same time putting thousands of people back to work. Today's announcement is little more than window dressing and clever accountancy and the net result of the government's plans will see a reduction in billions of euro on capital spend, vital infrastructure not being built and an opportunity missed to put people back to work.
"The fact that some of this investment is dependent on the sale of profitable state assets is of huge concern."
Deputy Peadar Toibín said:
“The largest crisis facing the Irish people is unemployment and emigration. Since this government has come into power unemployment has continued to increase. The GAA generation is being deleted from our society and the creativity and energy of whole sector of Irish society is finding expression in Canada, Australia and elsewhere. There are nearly 200,000 people long term unemployed. This announcement today is too little for people on the dole and too late for those who have left the state.
"A genuine stimulus is welcome, but this is not what is happening today. Sinn Fein has called for a €13 billion stimulus plan focusing on infrastructure and new enterprises. This money could be sourced from the discretionary portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund, matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment from a more than willing Private Pension sector. Stimulus needs to be invested into strategic sectors which will bring about the greatest multiplier effect. It also needs to have an even regional delivery. Our stimulus along with enterprise reforms and supports would help kick start the Irish economy, and create long term competitive advantages.
“If the government is serious about stimulus, if they are serious about tackling unemployment, they need to move beyond this timid, anaemic step, and deliver a stimulus solution that is proportionate to the catastrophic unemployment and emigration crisis in Ireland today.“ ENDS
Note to editor - That capital budget spend was cut by €755 million in 2012, meaning €755 million less each year for the foreseeable future. The Government has previously announced it intends to cut capital spend by €562 million in 2013 and €120 million in 2014. The cumulative effects of these cuts are €3.5 billion over three years up to 2014.