Fianna Fáil apathetic on challenges facing Irish economy - Morgan
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Economic Affairs Arthur Morgan TD has accused the government as appearing clueless on the country’s economic challenges highlighted today by the ESRI in its Quarterly Economic Commentary for autumn 2007.
Morgan has accused Fianna Fáil of apathy concerning the impending loss of thousands of jobs in the construction sector and even more worryingly it appears disinterested in the sharp contraction in government revenue. Morgan has outlined a number of measures for government in order to ensure economic stability going forward.
Deputy Morgan said:
“The ESRI has presented a downward trend in its economic forecast for 2008 and is now predicating lower levels of growth as a result of a dramatic downturn in the construction sector. It has also predicated that 25,000 jobs will be lost in the construction sector by December.
“Over the last 12 months my party has consistently highlighted the overdependence of the economy on the construction sector and in turn the overdependence of the exchequer on revenue related to property and consumption.
“In line with Sinn Féin’s prediction of the effects on the exchequer of a downturn in the construction sector, it is now the case that an exchequer deficit of almost €1.4 billion is forecast for 2007, rising to €3.2 billion in 2008 as the decline of that sector continues unabated.
“When others promised tax cuts in the run up to the general election we pointed out that the more you reduce income tax, the more dependent the Government becomes on these other more insecure sources of tax revenue.
“Sinn Féin warned that the Government then becomes increasingly more vulnerable to a sudden and sharp contraction in revenue which would have serious implications for its ability to deliver public services.
“The Government has the ability to ensure that the effects on the economy and on the exchequer of a downturn in the construction sector is minimised. Sinn Féin is proposing that this be done by ensuring vulnerable workers currently in the construction sector are offered training and upskilling to enable them to more easily secure alternative employment opportunities.
“Sinn Féin is also calling on the Minister for Finance to ensure that Budget 2008 contain reforms to redress the current overdependence by the Exchequer on property related revenue so that monies needed to adequately fund public services are not adversely affected.
“Fianna Fáil’s inability to acknowledge the much forecasted downturn in the property sector is an indictment of the party’s apathy and arrogance. Responsible credible government is what Irish society needs. The current government need to remove their blinkers, look around and address this impending economic crisis.” CRÍOCH