Fianna Fáil calls for more investment

Taoiseach says challenge is to deal with confidence in indigenous economy

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said people wanted to see money invested in the economy and creating jobs to bring about recovery. Photograph: David Sleator

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said people wanted to see money invested in the economy and creating jobs to bring about recovery. Photograph: David Sleator

Thu, May 2, 2013, 06:00

There was a 27 per cent reduction in capital investment in the economy in the first three months of the year, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath claimed.

He said people wanted to see money used appropriately, invested in the economy and creating jobs to bring about recovery. “If the Taoiseach acknowledges that unemployment is the number one crisis in the country, why is that not being matched with action, not an action plan document, but action people can see in their communities ?” he added.

Enda Kenny said unemployment had fallen from 15 per cent to 14 per cent, but agreed it was unacceptably high.

“Some 90,000 people on the live register are working three days a week,’’ he added. “These statistics often do not give an accurate figure for those who are full-time unemployed.’’

He said the National Pensions Reserve Fund launched an €850 million investment in three categories in January and it was there to be taken up.

Mr Kenny said the Government had been dealing with the carnage in the past two years, sorting out the promissory note and extending loan maturities to enable a flattening out of the debt profile.


Stabilised
“We had come to a point . . . where for the three years, 2008 to 2011, every month the private sector lost 7,000 jobs,’’ he said. “At least we have stabilised now, with 1,000 jobs created in the private sector every month as a measure of increasing confidence and greater competitiveness, which has now increased by 20 per cent.’’

Mr Kenny said the challenge was to deal with confidence in the indigenous economy, adding that everyone understood the economic challenge people faced. The Government had set out a fiscal plan and had to deal with the €300 million in savings from within the public sector.

He said the economy returned to growth in 2011 and continued to grow last year. The Department of Finance expected the expansion to continue into this year, with GDP predicted to grow by 1.3 per cent.