Fine Gael belatedly realise EU fiscal rules ‘are a straitjacket’ – Cullinane
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, has called Brian Hayes MEP a ‘Johnny-Come-Lately’ to the capital investment debate, saying that the infrastructural pressures are as a direct result of the fiscal rules and the frenzied zeal Fine Gael and Labour brought to the imposition of austerity on the State.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“After signing up to the fiscal rules, which Sinn Fein always said were a straitjacket, Fine Gael are now trying to work out ways to circumvent the rules. This is a vindication of what we said at the time and we will continue to raise these issues.
“Sinn Féin of course welcomes the fact that Brian Hayes and IBEC finally accept that here is a desperate need for public capital investment.
“Back then, the government parties and their friends were calling the fiscal rules ‘the only show in town’.
“Now they want the rules relaxed because of the damage they have done with them.
“The calls for more capital investment and a loosening of the fiscal rules puts it up to Minister Noonan, who had categorically ruled out any chance of negotiating with the EU Commission for scope regarding Ireland’s bank bailout legacy.
“This is another barrier against investment as the state continues to borrow to pay back the bank bailout.
“The EU Commission for its part also calls for greater public capital investment but wants it to happen while Ireland uses any windfall tax to pay down debt instead of using it for much-need development. This is simply ideology and is as delusional as the fiscal rules that envelop it.
“Sinn Féin will continue to argue for greater public capital investment and will work with its representatives in Brussels to argue for greater scope from the Commission to allow for the type of public investment in health, housing and infrastructure that is so desperately needed after so many years of bank-debt-led austerity.”