Claims on public job cuts in a united Ireland ‘ridiculous’ - Sinn Féin

Pearse Doherty says party committed to raising public service numbers across island

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty described as ridiculous’ a notion that Irish unity would lead to thousands of public sector workers losing their jobs. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins.

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty described as ridiculous’ a notion that Irish unity would lead to thousands of public sector workers losing their jobs. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins.

 

A publication circulated by Sinn Féin to its members denies there could be substantial jobs losses in the public service in the event of the North and Republic uniting.

A draft of the “Activists Guide to Irish Unity” says a united Ireland would “lead to efficiencies in public services as we no longer have two separate agencies dealing with each and every task of government”.

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty described as “ridiculous” an interpretation that Irish unity would lead to thousands of public sector workers losing their jobs. He said the opposite would be the case.

He said that combining services from the two jurisdictions into one would drive efficiencies.

The guide, based on the party’s ‘Green Paper on Unity’, specifically referred to many public service requirements not being met in the North and the Republic in areas such as special needs, policing and education.

Pressed on whether efficiencies when combining both public services would lead to job losses, he countered by saying that in the long term Sinn Féin was committed to increasing the number of public servants across the island.

The document says now is the time to have a conversation about the kind of Ireland people want, arguing that partition has weakened Ireland in every way.

Social changes

It focuses on the detrimental impact Brexit will have on the North and also points out that the social changes that have occurred in the Republic, such as same sex marriage and abortion rights, have not happened in the North.

The document also refers to a 2015 study which argued that a united Ireland could generate an additional €35 billion in economic returns, and the North would benefit from being part of the more prosperous Republic.

Mr Doherty, speaking to reporters at the party’s planning meeting in Cavan, also disclosed he would set out a new rent relief package next week that would directly help tenants renting in the private sector.

“It is a significant package of measures that will directly provide relief for renters in this sector. It will go directly in their pockets to make sure they remain in their tenancies and also make sure that rents remain appropriate.”

He said his measures were in marked contrast to those of Fianna Fáil, which he said once again seemed to be on the side of landlords. He said that the package would include measures that would prevent landlords from increasing rents because of the availability of the reliefs.

Sinn Féin’s health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly said the meeting had also discussed is a “32 county health service which is available to all the citizens on this island.

“We looked at the level of cooperation that exists and how we can deepen that and how we can develop a 32 county health service,” she said.