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Sinn Féin welcomes progress in Economic sub-Committee

17 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has welcomed the progress made in the Preparation for Government sub-committee on the Economy.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"Some agreement has emerged from the deliberations of the Economic sub-Committee on the Economy and that is to be welcomed. It is a change to have the focus of Six-County politics on securing the long-term future of the economy. Sinn Fein believes that it is possible to have a dynamic enterprise driven economy that can be environmentally sustainable, creates well paid employment, transcends the disparities in regional development and creates an economy that offers opportunities to all households, especially those in the neglected urban areas, the underdeveloped rural west and the disadvantaged border regions

"We believe that there are a number of key areas that are integral to formulating a successful economic strategy. These are best addressed by first recognising the all-Ireland dimension, and then having an honest, realistic discussion around the core issues of infrastructural investment, tax and fiscal policies, educational challenges and the need to reform not just the work of the enterprise agencies but the parallel need to empower and develop a dynamic private and public sector in the region.

"A successful future for the Six-County economy can only happen in the context of an all-island strategy and the logic of this thinking from an economic perspective involves bringing this realism into a significant spectrum of areas. This would include spatial planning, infrastructure, education, energy, taxation and public finance, the financial sector, research and development, the list could go on. These are all areas where the all-Ireland dimension is not a political agenda but a matter of common sense.

"For example having two currencies on the island is an impediment to trade, a cost to consumers and business and serves only to enrich an already prosperous banking sector. Having control of monetary policy on an island wide basis would offer flexibility and an opportunity to business and the overall economy that is immeasurable.

"We cannot plan an economy that is half in half out of an all island structure; it increases costs, squanders resources and ultimately means less jobs, lower wages and higher taxes. We can have an island economy that seeks to maximise the opportunities of East-West economic development and the surge of Irish investment in the British economy in recent years shows how quickly investment and development trends can change.

"While the lack of investment in roads, rail and air has been well documented, there are also huge gaps in telecommunications, education and in securing a long term low cost, and environmentally responsive energy supply.

"There has been a lot of effort put into the presentations by all of the parties but it will all be for nothing unless we are 'Prepared for Government' and grasp the opportunity to implement whatever measures we finally agree in this most important sub-Committee. Agreement to take power is crucial." ENDS

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