Opposition leaders respond to Kenny’s bailout-exit speech

Martin welcomes bailout exit but warns of “two-tier” recovery

Statements by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and Shane Ross, speaking on behalf of the Technical Group, will be broadcast.

Statements by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and Shane Ross, speaking on behalf of the Technical Group, will be broadcast.

Mon, Dec 16, 2013, 21:40

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has welcomed Ireland’s exit from the bailout but said there is a “growing risk” of a two-tier recovery.

Mr Martin and Independent TD Shane Ross were given the opportunity to respond to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s televised national address on Sunday night.

Both Mr Ross, on behalf of the Technical Group of Independent TDs, and Mr Martin made brief broadcast replies.

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Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams will be given an opportunity to respond tomorrow evening.

The Fianna Fáil leader said more needed to be done to achieve “a faster and fairer recovery”.

“The current evidence is that we risk a two-tier recovery – where some prosper but many are left behind,” Mr Martin said.

“Direct action is required not only to improve the pace of job creation but also to deliver more high-quality, well-paid jobs.”

He also said small businesses “are not benefitting from the upturn in the international economy”.

‘Small businesses’
“We have put forward a series of initiatives to help small businesses in practical ways such as reducing commercial rates. Credit is still not flowing to business. Another of our proposals is to set up a new business bank so that it can lend money to small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Mr Martin also said family incomes are under pressure, with the full-year payment of the property tax next year only one of many costs.

He claimed morale in the health service is low, with medical cards being taken off thousands of people.

And he said “Europe should give Ireland the retrospective debt deal that we were promised in June 2012”.

Mr Ross claimed it would be “premature” to hold a national celebration to mark the exit from the bailout, but the Dublin South TD said he recognised the Government’s right to mark the exit, saying they “have jumped through a hoop set for them by the troika”.

“The exit may bring political satisfaction to the Government but it would be premature to hold a national celebration,” he said.

“Political insiders insist that the Coalition had little alternative to the politics of austerity”, adding that they were merely travelling a road that Fianna Fáil would have followed to the letter.

“As an outsider I see that the policies and practices of the big parties as joined at the hip. That is the principal reason why change is so slow,” Mr Ross said.


‘Vested interests’
He said Civil War politics and “stale” politics are alive in the Dáil, but added the resignation of the board of the Central Remedial Clinic board last week showed change can happen.

“Their exits proved to me – and Independent colleagues – that the old political culture can be exposed, that vested interests can be defeated if determined Independent TDs confront unacceptable uses of public money,” Mr Ross said.

“Exposés of the misuse of money are only a start. Independents must now form meaningful alliances to offer a radical, but workable, alternative to tribal and troika politics. Support us in cleaning out more boards, in fighting for the underdog, in crusading to reform the charities and banking sectors . . . There is a fairer way, a radical way, different from the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour way.”

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