Sinn Féin is committed to a strong and equal economy
Sinn Féin Chairperson and Dublin MEP, Mary Lou McDonald has said "Equality is at the heart of Sinn Féin's agenda for government. Sinn Féin is committed to building a strong and sustainable economy and to using prosperity to create a fairer society and to eliminate poverty.
Mary Lou McDonald said:
"Ireland is now a more prosperous country than ever before. The positive changes of recent years have opened up the possibility of this country finally reaching if full potential - economically, socially and culturally.
"However the wealth that has been created in recent years by many hardworking people has not been used to create a fairer, more equal society. Neither has there been a guiding vision at governmental level, which can plan ahead for a future based on economic stability, inclusiveness and sustainable prosperity.
"Current Government policy has failed to address rising inflation, an over-reliance on foreign direct investment and an over-dependence on the construction sector. The government has failed to promote balanced regional development and infrastructure and service provision is still poor in many parts of the State.
"Levels of research and development (R&D) remain too low and there is no coherent plan for developing indigenous business or for training and upskilling the workforce.
"There is an unacceptable move by some employers to boost their profits on the back of low-paid and exploited workers - both migrant and native, and the Government has not prevented this. The active dismantling of the public enterprise sector has impeded the Irish economy overall - for example the privatisation of Eircom significantly slowed broadband rollout.
"This Government has not planned to meet future challenges to the economy, including specifically planning for workers employed in vulnerable sectors. According to the National Competitiveness Council, in the five years to March 2006 manufacturing industries lost over 32,000 jobs. Many of the jobs lost in rural areas are not being replaced - with devastating local effects. Many of the new jobs cited by the Government as replacing those lost are only part-time. This is not good enough.
"Sinn Féin wants a strong Irish economy, sustainable into the future and is committed to building and maintaining an economic environment that is favourable towards enterprise and job creation.
"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.
"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.
"Our priority is to continue to build a strong and vibrant economy by investing in infrastructure, 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. We also propose a single currency, a single labour market and a harmonised tax regime for the island.
"We will introduce a package of measures aimed specifically at supporting and developing indigenous enterprise. We would continue to encourage more Foreign Direct Investment but give the same type of supports to small and medium businesses. We would also support agriculture which provides 20% of all jobs outside of the public sector. Other measures we would introduce includeproposals to pre-emptively up-skill workers vulnerable to future jobs-losses anda specific Redundancy to Entrepreneurship scheme to assist workers who have become redundant to establish their own businesses.
"What is the economy for, if not to serve the society? That is the question that all the parties in this election must address. A strong economy can and must be the servant of the people. That is our firm belief, one which feel is shared by the vast majority of Irish people, and that is the vision we are putting before voters in this election."ENDS