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Economic picture far from rosy

16 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has said that Maria Eagles needs to take off her rose tinted spectacles and get to grips with the underlying structural weaknesses within the economy.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"While acknowledging that Maria Eagles is only new to the job I would encourage her to take off the rose tinted spectacles and get to grips with the very serious underlying weaknesses in the economy.

"The reality is that economic activity is dependent on the public sector and the growth in low value jobs, particularly part-time retail and service sector jobs with a minimum wage that does nothing to tackle the exceptionally high levels of poverty.

"Economic inactivity remains one of the biggest issues facing the economy and unemployment figures hide the fact that over 220,000 people are on sickness or incapacity benefits. The key to turning around the economy is tackling inactivity.

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued that the north's structural economic weaknesses will only be properly addressed within an all Ireland context. We have already put the case for a 10-year £10 billion Peace Building Strategy to eradicate the regional socio and economic disparities particularly West of the Bann and the Border Counties and to support the development of all-Ireland strategies and synergies." ENDS

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