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We need a government that puts Ireland first - Peadar Tóibín

7 February, 2014

Economic sovereignty means "an economy of the people, by the people and for the people”. It means putting Ireland first. Is it not amazing that nearly 100 years since the 1916 rising the simple idea of economic self-determination, of putting Ireland first is considered so threatening.

When decision making is outsourced to London or Berlin Irish control is diluted and accountability and ultimately the Irish people’s ability to put Ireland first comes to an end.

This has a cost. The south is in hoc to the tune of billions of euro due to decisions made by French and German governments who put their bondholders first. Economic sovereignty lost -  costs money.  

The gapping contradiction at the heart of the political establishment in this state is that they talk up sovereignty while ceding it.

What Economic Sovereignty is left has remains unused. There is shocking lack of urgency given the scale of unemployment and emigration crisis. Indeed if it were not for the ecosystem of new internships and record emigration the unemployment rate would be closer to 20%. 

We have a two tier economy emerging in Ireland. What anaemic growth we have is increasingly centred within the confines of the M50 while long term unemployment, youth unemployment and under employment are at staggering levels. 

We are becoming increasingly dependent on a few FDI eggs attracted by out taxation basket. This narrow dependency has inherent risks given that the world is waking up to tax avoidance schemes. We have had narrow dependency in our economy before and it cost us dear. Indigenous business is the poor relation despite containing 99% of all enterprises and 70% of all employment.

Half of all loans to small and medium sized businesses in Ireland are in distress placing a significant break on the economy. We in Sinn Féin have brought forward proposals with regards debt write down where necessary, reducing business cost, increasing demand, reforming the micro enterprise development sector and harnessing the National Pension Reserve Fund in order to creating efficiencies and stimulate growth.

We need to incentivise investment away from property into small enterprise. We need to make sure that low paid workers are not the target for so called cost reductions and indeed they are not punished for working by being pushed off the welfare supports cliff. We need to create an export pipeline service that hand holds Irish SMEs who are just starting to export.

We need to create an emergency team within Enterprise Ireland that can be invited into Irish firms to help resolve problems before examinsership or worse. We need to create a progressive business rate that reflects the profitability of a business. But most of all we need a government that puts Ireland First.

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