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Significant policy change on economy required - Toibin

13 April, 2013

Under Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour this state has suffered five consecutive years of falling or static growth, historically high emigration and a stagnant jobs market. The economy is nailed down by the most austere policies since the foundation of the state.

The real economy, the domestic economy which accounts for 78% of jobs has been left to wither. Half of all loans to small and medium-sized businesses, €25 billion euros worth are impaired and credit is a pipe dream for up on 50% of those looking for loans. In the last week alone 732 domestic businesses closed.

Nearly 1 in 4 of the workforce is unemployed or underemployed. Most of the people who came off the live register last month will be working in Perth, Toronto or London next month. The Strategic Investment Fund announced by the government in 2011 has yet to see the light of day.

 Unless there is a significant and profound policy change, unless the real economy is fixed now, this decade will be known as Ireland’s lost decade.

For 5 years Sinn Féin has been busy, urging change, identifying investment opportunities and detailing the sources of those strategic funds. If you want growth in an economy where private investment has flat lined, the government must step up to the plate.

Sinn Féin has identified €13 billion in the NPRF, the European Investment Bank and the Private Pension Sector, an amount acknowledged to be available by the troika.

Sinn Féin has identified major infrastructure deficits. The OECD, the European Commission and the National Competitiveness Council have all named energy costs, water costs and communication weaknesses, as being detrimental to the state's competitiveness.

Investment in these infrastructural gaps would put tens of thousands of people back to work now, would stimulate the economy now and it would create competitive advantages and efficiencies for the future.

Sinn Féin believe in achieving competitive advantages through  faster broadband, better transport infrastructure and energy conservation. Contrast this with the government who only ever seek unsustainable competitive advantages in the lowering of pay and conditions of workers and the creation of tax shelters.

Sinn Féin has also identified a number of costly market distortions which continue to put a brake on the domestic economy. Upward Only Rents, regressive commercial rates, cartels and bloated utility costs all exist at the behest of government cronies.

Every hour 9 people emigrate from this state. 430,000 people deal daily with unemployment and underemployment. The enormity of the crisis on Irish lives, families and businesses is astounding. The only thing harder to believe is the inadequacy of this government’s response.

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