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Daithí McKay MLA- The Economy of an United Ireland

13 April, 2013

The economic potential of a new unified Irish state has yet to be properly examined and debated.

It is Sinn Féin’s view that it is neither economically beneficial, nor practical, on an island population of 6.5 million to have two separate tax, currency and legal systems and two separate economies.

We believe that in a new agreed Ireland, with access to a full range of fiscal powers for the whole island we would be better equipped to design economic and political policies that would address the specific fiscal and social needs of all our people.

It would provide more effective marketing opportunities for indigenous industries and greater ability to attract foreign direct investment. It would enable us to put greater focus on access to European, American and emerging markets.

For example the decision on Corporation Tax demonstrates once again that the British government’s selfish economic and political interests come before the needs of people living in the north. The Tories fixation on undermining Alex Salmond takes priority over jobs in Ballymena, Belfast or Derry.

Economic policies made in London have delivered only economic stagnation in Belfast.

But David Cameron’s bad faith, and his preoccupation with defeating the Scottish referendum will backfire because – as even Peter Robinson has acknowledged – it sends the message to the Scottish people that the only way they are going to achieve fiscal autonomy is by going for independence.

Harmonisation of taxes and an agreed fiscal policy for the benefit of the 6.5m people of this island would help create the conditions to deliver jobs across the country.

Having a single air passenger duty policy would help attract new routes to Europe and the Middle East forging links to key growing economies, investing in infrastructure linking Derry to Dublin and Cork to Belfast, or working towards a single spend on education, health and public sector will save money to be reinvested elsewhere. Duplication costs.

We would also have access to and control of our natural resources. It is estimated that the oil and gas reserves in waters under control of this State are estimated in the region of €750bn. This does not take account of recent speculation of massive oil reserves in Northern waters.

But of course as a result of the cosy relationship between the multi-nationals and previous Fianna Fáil governments, whose taxation regime has been maintained by Fine Gael and Labour, the Irish people see no benefit from them.

And if the northern reserves are exploited, it will also be foreign interests and the British Exchequer who will benefit – profits would be siphoned to London.

Sinn Féin have started the debate that has caught the attention of many. People are now talking about this as a reality. Let us now see others stepping up to the plate and joining this debate.

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