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Tóibín produces first All-Ireland Economy Report since partition

28 January, 2016

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín spoke today at the launch of the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Report on the All-Island Economy.

The Meath West TD said:

“The document we launched today was the first report produced by an Oireachtas committee examining the economy of the entire Island since partition.

“Up to 100 people contributed to this report from throughout the island and from differing backgrounds. Academics, business people, Trade Unions, trade organisations, public representatives, farmers and state officials from Local Authorities and Administrations all contributed their knowledge and experience.

“Previous academic reports have found that there would be a boost of up to €35.6 billion in GDP for the island of Ireland in the first eight years of economic unification. This underlines the importance of pursuing greater integration of our economies.

“Ireland, North and South, is a small island. It has a population of 6.4million people, smaller than many international cities.

“Yet there exist two separate tax regimes, two currencies, two legal systems, two police forces, two health systems, two education systems, two separate competing economies, three tourism bodies and 26 government departments. All of which is paid for out of the pocket of the taxpayer. But duplication also hinders development. A criminal can cross the border without a second thought but the Garda and the PSNI must come to a halt at an invisible line. There has been much talk of the elimination of non-tariff barriers between the EU and United States and yet the Irish border is a myriad of non-tariff barriers.

“Business, enterprise, trade, innovation, employment and service delivery seek and demand the path of least resistance.

“The border and the disjointed economic regimes on the island act as resistance to the development of these drivers of growth and prosperity.

“Logic dictates that in order to improve the economic wellbeing of citizens North and South we have a responsibility to eliminate the barriers to growth and prosperity.

“Trade is also a key tool of conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence. This was understood at the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and indeed The European Coal and Steel Community.

“Since partition, Ireland has experienced considerable divergence North and South; infrastructurally, organisationally, economically, legally and culturally. As a result of this the nature of political, state and public institutions which evolved separately, is to see collaboration, cooperation and integration as a threat.

“However, the underlying logic of collaboration and cooperation remains. In order to achieve real success, real economies of scale and real implementation of real benefit we need to plan, fund and deliver together.

“Successful examples of this can be seen in the All-Island Energy Market and InterTradeIreland. Jointly funded cancer services have illustrated that co-operation is not only possible, but that it improves the lives of citizens. The Louth/Newry Memorandum of Understanding has been hailed in Europe as an example of how two local authorities in different jurisdictions should work.

“This report on the All-Island Economy provides us with the framework to achieve both island-wide economic recovery and prosperity along the border.  Now we must focus upon delivery.

“We are calling on both administrations on this island to consider the recommendations outlined in this report and work towards their practical delivery.

“An implementation strategy targeted at addressing the recommendations outlined in this report should be put in place in the next term of the Dáil and the Assembly.”  

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