ECB has put €150bn into economy, says Kenny

Thu, May 3, 2012, 01:00

THE EUROPEAN Central Bank had put €150 billion in liquidity into the Irish system, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil.

He said the fiscal treaty was not a panacea for all of Europe’s problems but was one of the tools needed to restore stability, bring back competitiveness and create employment and social cohesion.

“That is why we have always been upfront with the people in saying that, in parallel with this, we do need the agenda of growth, investment and opportunity,” he added.

During sharp exchanges with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, the Taoiseach said the Government had convinced its European colleagues at leadership level “that this should apply for every meeting of the European Council in future”.

Mr Adams said it was clear the Government’s austerity programme was not working, with 500,000 people unemployed, tens of thousands emigrating and families struggling to pay bills.

“Under the programme, this will continue for three years and there will be another €8.6 billion in cuts and tax increases,” he added.

“Citizens want to know where this money will come from.” Mr Adams urged Mr Kenny to tell people how many more cuts or tax increases, such as household and septic tank charges, would be introduced to pay for austerity, particularly when it clearly was not working.

Mr Kenny said Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton was in the United States with IDA officials talking to a range of companies that were considering investing in Europe.

“The reason they want to consider Ireland is the package we offer in terms of our tax system, technological capacity, talent and track record in meeting every objective and bar that has been set,” he added.

Mr Adams, said the Taoiseach, had first-hand evidence of that in Dundalk, in his Louth constituency, where PayPal decided to add 1,000 jobs.

Mr Kenny said that every job created in the country, as a result of investment from abroad, reduced our deficit by €20,000 and, therefore, the announcement of 1,000 new jobs meant a €20 million reduction and 5,000 jobs meant a €100 million reduction.

He added that American companies considering investment in Europe wanted to look at a country that had confidence in itself, the euro zone and the EU.

Mr Adams said that any new jobs were obviously good and his party’s TDs worked to try to bring jobs to their constituencies.

He accused Mr Kenny of ignoring his question about how the Government would pay for the treaty.

Mr Adams added that he found it bizarre to listen to the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin discussing the issue because Mr Martin’s party had caused the economic collapse.

Mr Martin, he added, could not even persuade his own party to vote Yes.

Mr Kenny said the Government had set out its budgetary plan.

It was in a programme for two years and, under the excessive deficit procedure, the Government wanted to have the deficit down to 3 per cent by 2015.

“I do not accept the deputy’s argument about the need for €6 billion beyond that because there will be a corrective period beyond 2015 where the methodologies that will be put forward by Ireland will deal with that issue,” he added.