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An all-Ireland economic forum needed to advance economic harmony: Doherty

18 June, 2011 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking at a conference entitled “Uniting Ireland: towards a new republic” in Dublin today (Saturday 18 June), Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson and Donegal South West TD, Pearse Doherty said the single most effective step this new government could take would be to establish an all-Ireland economic forum to advance economic harmony on the island.

He told the gathering that as a Donegal TD, he sees at first hand every day the negative impact of partition on the social and economic life of the community he represents.

“We have two different currencies, two different tax regimes, two different systems
for accessing public services, two different systems of support for small and medium
sized businesses. On an island as small as ours, such duplication makes neither
political nor economic sense,” he said.

“I would like to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, in both political and
economic terms, and ask a simple question. Over the next ten years how can we
continue to build on the great work already taking place on the ground in order to
strengthen and further develop the all Ireland economy.

“While for republicans the arguments may seem self evident, it is worth rehearsing
them again, whether on tax, business support, infrastructural development, service
delivery or job creation,” he said, before outlining practical obstacles to cross border trade and economic development and proposing an all-Ireland approach to infrastructural investment and development.

“These efforts also require active support and promotion from government, in
both Leinster House and the Assembly,” he said. “It is not yet clear whether the new Fine Gael and Labour government has any interest in, let alone knowledge of the benefits of the all Ireland economy.”

“For Sinn Fein the single most effective step this new government could take would
be the creation of an All Ireland Economic Forum tasked by both the Dail and the
Assembly to proactively develop and oversee initiatives to advance all Ireland
economic harmonisation,” he concluded.

The conference saw speakers such as Rev Gary Mason from East Belfast; Brian Keenan, former Beirut hostage; Dr John Bradley, formerly of the ESRI a Dr Pádraic White, former IDA managing director; Michael D'Arcy, economic and business consultant and Norah Gibbon of Barnardos share a platform with Sinn Féin leadership figures such as TDs, Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and MLA Caitriona Ruane.

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