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Government must plan for eventualities warned of by ESRI - Morgan

3 October, 2006

Sinn Féin's Enterprise and Employment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has called for the Government to heed the warning contained within the ESRI quarterly economic commentary regarding possible future job losses. Deputy Morgan also called for a significant shift in focus from multinationals to indigenous enterprise and for initiatives to upskill and retrain workers in vulnerable sectors of the economy.

The Louth TD said: "The ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary published yesterday has warned that a slow down in the US could lead to the loss of 90,000 jobs by 2010. The Government needs to prepare for this eventuality. The warning from the ESRI again demonstrates how vulnerable we are as a result of our significant reliance on foreign direct investment. It comes on top of the warning in the previous quarterly economic report regarding an over reliance on the constructions sector.

"The Government has taken a laissez faire approach to economic development. It is showing little concern regarding our dependency on the construction sector for economic growth. The ESRI again raises concerns about the fact that most of the jobs growth will continue to occur in non-export sectors, including construction, as well as retail and wholesale. This echoes previous warnings that sustainable overall growth of the economy is not feasible over the medium to long term unless some sectors generate growth in net exports.

"Nothing has been done to discourage companies who are seeking to relocate to low cost locations from making their workers redundant. Measures to ensure employment opportunities are available to workers affected in particular by the decline of the manufacturing sector are almost wholly absent.

"In order to plan for the eventualities warned of by the ESRI, Sinn Féin is proposing a policy shift so that the funding from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment should be primarily directed at the development of indigenous micro and small and medium enterprises, and at the development of the social economy and co-operatives. We are calling for improved incentives for research and development.

"In order to prepare for the possibility of job losses on the scale forecast by the ESRI Sinn Fein is calling on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to carry out an assessment of sectors and geographic regions likely to experience job losses in the next five years and for specific funding to be put in place to upskill and re-train the workers who are likely to be effected in advance of this happening. Skills and training should be focused on specific growth sectors which would make a suitable replacement for the jobs likely to be lost."


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