SF calls for €13bn jobs package

Tue, May 15, 2012, 01:00

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has claimed the number of people emigrating is reaching “19th century levels” as a result of the Government’s failure to help the domestic economy.

Mr Tóibín, the party's spokesman on jobs, said 76,000 people had emigrated in the last year and that a three-year €13 billion investment package focusing on infrastructure and new enterprises should be rolled out.

He said the money would be sourced from the “discretionary portfolio” of the National Pension Reserve Fund; matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment from the private pension sector.

“Such a fund would directly create in the region of 130,000 jobs over three years, or an average of 40,000 per year,” Mr Tóibín said.

Sinn Féin TDs have again criticised Taoiseach Enda Kenny for turning down an invitation to take part in a televised debate about the fiscal treaty referendum with their party leader Gerry Adams.

The party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said Mr Kenny had a salary of €200,000 and had an “onus and responsibility” to debate the treaty in public. “The Taoiseach needs to put aside petty differences with presenters,” Mr Doherty said.

TV3 had put its political editor Ursula Halligan forward as moderator and issued a fresh invitation, after Mr Kenny turned down an offer to take part in a debate with Mr Adams chaired by Vincent Browne.

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald accused Mr Kenny of “running away from this debate” and said he should meet the challenge head on. She added: “The Taoiseach may be running but he can’t hide from this debate.”

A Government spokesman confirmed that Mr Kenny would not be participating in the debate, and said this had been communicated to TV3. A formal response would be sent to the station, he added.