Jobs central to recovery, says Gilmore

Objective of full employment attainable ‘over a number of years’

Eamon Gilmore: It would be appropriate for people from international institutions to give evidence to the looming Oireachtas inquiry on the banking crash. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Eamon Gilmore: It would be appropriate for people from international institutions to give evidence to the looming Oireachtas inquiry on the banking crash. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Sat, Dec 14, 2013, 01:00


Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said the attainment of full employment is an achievable objective “over a number of years” as the Irish economy recovers in the wake of the bailout.

In an event in Dublin yesterday to mark the end of the rescue programme, he said it was important for the Coalition to set new objectives for itself.

“The one thing that both parties in Government have been absolutely clear on has been on the need to make employment and job creation the centrepiece and the central element of our economic strategy right through,” he told a gathering at the Institute of International and European Affairs.

There was a particular requirement for efforts to counter youth unemployment, he said. “Unless young people have a stake in the future we are walking into economic, social and political trouble and that has to be addressed and it is urgent.”


Economic recovery
At the same time, he said the Government was facing into the second half of the recovery effort with a “light breeze” on its back. “I think it’s probably fair to say that we played the first half I think against a very strong wind in driving rain, and at times it seems to me that . . . the pitch might even have been tilted slightly against us.”

He said the entire Coalition supported the idea of income tax cuts, as mooted by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

“I think that what we have to do is ensure that . . . as our economy recovers, that as jobs are created, and as the finances of the State improve that we do what we can to lift the taxation burden on hard-pressed families, and that is a view that is shared across Government,” said Mr Gilmore.


Second bailout
Ireland would have faced the prospect of a second intervention by the international authorities were it not for the economic stance adopted by the Coalition, he said.

“To be frank, if he hadn’t taken the approach that we did take, there was always the danger that we’d be into a second bailout. You can imagine if we were here today looking at the prospect of a second bailout, the possibility of a decade or more of trying to get out of the difficulty we were in.”

In his prepared remarks, Mr Gilmore thanked Ireland’s international partners and troika institutions for their assistance during the bailout.

In response to a question from the audience on the banking guarantee of 2008, he said it would be appropriate for people from international institutions to give evidence to the looming Oireachtas inquiry on the banking crash.

“That is probably the place . . . [which] will need to hear that whole issue tested out and worked through,” he said. He later declined to say which international institutions had questions to answer.

“I think that will be a matter for the Dáil committee that will be dealing with it and I expect that they will invite not just those were involved in policy making here. But I would expect that they would invite people from international institutions as well,” he said.