NPRF must be safeguarded for stimulus – Doherty
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, responding to the latest report on debt projections from the Economic and Social Research Institute, has criticised the body for consistently failing to acknowledge the need for a stimulus for the Irish economy.
Doherty said the body and the government need to keep their hands off the NPRF and that their ’jobless recovery' was a contradiction in terms.
“The ESRI believes that pure calculations on paper can bring the Irish economy to recovery. It has proved over the last week of pronouncements that its function is to cheer-lead government and EU/IMF policy, rather than provide objective analysis. In its latest submission, it appears to advocate writing down government debt by using virtually all of the state's liquid assets, and I am concerned that that includes the remaining NPRF reserves, as implied in point 4 of their key assumptions.
“Sinn Féin believes a portion of those assets should be used for a jobs package that would help to stimulate the economy to recovery. The ESRI believes, along with the government and the EU/IMF that we can cut our way to recovery. They do not mention debt reduction via growing the labour force and growing the economy. In failing to do so they are failing the 'social' aspect of their own name.
“There can be no jobless recovery. If we pay off all our debts as the ESRI claims we can, and do not stimulate enterprise, we will be left in 2014 with an unemployment legacy which will continue the cycle of falling tax revenues and a huge social welfare burden. To ignore this fact is poor economics and shows extremely bad social responsibility.
“I challenge the ESRI to examine the prospect of stimulus and suggest funding options for this route, particularly in light of their recent submission which appears to suggest wiping out any remaining state assets. The NPRF remaining reserves will be key to funding this stimulus in my mind. No more of this fund should be wasted on either banks or repaying state debt caused by banks.”