A strong economy can deliver first class public services
Sinn Féin's Dáil leader and spokesperson on Finance, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said 'In government Sinn Féin would prioritise the provision of public services for all, on the basis of equality', adding that 'the economy should serve society, not the reverse'. Deputy Ó Caoláin was speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's economic policy which outlines proposals for 'a strong, sustainable economy and an economic environment that enhances job creation and provides favourable conditions for business'.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:
"Sinn Féin believes that the economy should serve society and not the reverse. The prosperity witnessed in this state over the last decade could and should have been used to build first-class services in health, housing, education, public transport and balanced regional development. Instead, the Fianna Fáil/PD Government has presided over deepening levels of social inequality, greater regional economic disparity and an economy ill-prepared for future economic trends.
"The Government's approach has meant that the basic needs of many citizens are not being met and their quality of life undermined. Young working families cannot afford a home; our roads are gridlocked and there is insufficient public transport; our hospitals are in chaos and our schools are overcrowded.
Sinn Féin's plan for a strong and sustainable economy involves five main priorities:
- building the all-Ireland economy including all-Ireland economic planning and balanced regional development;
- providing world class infrastructure and public services to enhance Irish competitiveness;
- supporting enterprise and job creation;
- ensuring that workers' rights are fully protected in this process;
- supporting agriculture which provides 20% of all jobs outside the public sector
"In Government Sinn Féin will prioritise the provision of public services for all on the basis of equality. We seek a strong, sustainable economy and want to support an economic environment that enhances job creation and provides favourable conditions for business.
"We have always been the strongest advocates of the all-island economy. It is now widely recognised that our economic future depends on moving towards all-Ireland economic integration. Sinn Féin proposes to accelerate this process pending reunification.
"Current Government policy has failed to address rising inflation, over-reliance on foreign direct investment and an over-dependence on the construction sector. In many parts of the state, crucial infrastructure and service provision remains woefully inadequate.
"Sinn Féin proposes measures to end economic discrimination by investing to rebalance regional development, particularly inn the Border, Midlands and West regions. The Government has not planned to meet future challenges to the economy, including planning for the future of those workers employed in vulnerable sectors.
"There is an urgent need to diversify Ireland's competitive base to safeguard its economic health. Sinn Féin in government would do this by investing in infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation, public services, R&D and a highly educated workforce, and by intervening to bring down business costs in key areas such as energy and insurance.
"Importantly, Sinn Féin proposes to assist indigenous business development by supporting small and medium enterprises and the social economy. We would focus on provision of infrastructure and investment on an all-Ireland basis and propose a single currency, a single labour market and a harmonised tax regime for the island." ENDS
Strengthening the All-Ireland Economy
- Adopt and implement an all-Ireland Economic Development Plan.
- Amalgamate inward investment agencies such as IDA Ireland and Invest NI into a single All-Ireland Investment Agency with a remit to assist indigenous industry. In the short term, ensure that they work together in a regionally-balanced manner, rather than competing with each other.
- Ensure maximum all-Ireland co-ordination in the use of EU funds.
- Begin an open debate on the benefits of one currency for the whole island.
- Establish a public investment programme to ensure that Government departments and agencies proactively invest in historically neglected and underdeveloped areas to reverse the current imbalance.
Supporting Enterprise and Job Creation
· Support the development of indigenous micro and small and medium enterprises (SME) and social economy enterprises.
· Improve support for start-up businesses including provision of increased business advice, guidance and training plus dedicated management development.
· Adopt an All-Ireland R&D Strategy including extra assistance to SMEs and new businesses to develop business plans for R&D.
· Provide specific recycling depots for small business to enable them to reduce their waste management costs.
· Initiate a specific Redundancy to Entrepreneurship scheme
- Explore and pursue possibilities for establishing new profitable companies in public ownership, particularly in strategic sectors.
Note: The party's document ' A strong and equal economy' is attached as a pdf file.