Fianna Fáil says plan will create few jobs in short term
REACTION:THE STIMULUS plan announced by the Government falls far short of what is needed at this time and will generate very few jobs in the short term, Fianna Fáil has claimed.
Sinn Féin, meanwhile, has accused the Government of “spinning on stimulus” while people were awaiting “real action” to create jobs.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) welcomed the plan as “good news for Irish workers”, but the Green Party said it was “a throwback to the last century”.
Complaining that key elements of the plan would not be implemented for six years, Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesman Seán Fleming said: “It falls far short of the immediate shot in the arm the country needs.”
He added: “The fact that Minister Howlin is now prepared to announce that Grangegorman is this Government’s ‘flagship investment project’ is astonishing considering it was this Government that withdrew its support for Grangegorman only last year.”
Fianna Fáil jobs and enterprise spokesman Dara Calleary said: “This Government has a track record of launching job initiatives that don’t deliver any new jobs, and this announcement seems to be no different.”
Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said his party had been arguing for “a real stimulus package with additional money that would go some way to filling the gaps in health, education, energy and other vital infrastructure needs over a period of three years, while at the same time putting thousands of people back to work.
“Today’s announcement is little more than window-dressing and clever accountancy. The fact that some of this investment is dependent on the sale of profitable State assets is of huge concern.”
Sinn Féin enterprise spokesman Peadar Tóibín said the announcement was “too little for people on the dole and too late for those who have left the State.
“If the Government is serious about stimulus, if they are serious about tackling unemployment, they need to move beyond this timid, anaemic step and deliver a stimulus solution that is proportionate to the catastrophic unemployment and emigration crisis in Ireland today.”
Ictu chief economist Paul Sweeney said the plan was good news for Irish workers and, if implemented well, would boost private sector confidence, leading to further growth.
“As the long-time advocate of a domestic stimulus plan, congress welcomes the Government’s plan. It is an important step in Ireland’s recovery.”
He added: “The package is, of course, in response to the growing recognition, even by the advocates of austerity, of the need for a change in medicine, for the injection of a growth package.
“Even at our last two meetings with the troika, there was recognition of the need for some form of domestic stimulus.”
Mr Sweeney added: “Congress cannot understand why good, viable Irish companies should be sold off during the downturn to repay the private banks’ debts or even to part-fund this stimulus.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “This plan is a throwback to the last century when the only way Irish politicians knew of stimulating the economy was to pump money into the construction industry.
“Most of the ministers in the Cabinet cut their political teeth back in the 1970s and 1980s and they are now applying the outdated thinking from those days to a totally different Irish economy.”
He added: “This Government acts as if the fast-growing digital and green economies simply don’t exist.”
Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin described the health element of the Government’s stimulus plan as “vague, over-complicated and minimalist”.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said the Government must explain why it had “raided” the funds earmarked for the National children’s cospital to finance projects. “The Minister for Health and the Minister for Public Expenditure must immediately clarify this situation.”