Responding to recent statements by Fianna Fáil Deputy Michael McGrath’s regarding Fine Gael’s willingness to get behind the country as we embark upon economic recovery, I reminded the Government Deputy that Fine Gael is the only Party to put forward a fully costed and comprehensive set of proposals to get the country back to work.
“Yesterday Michael McGrath said that the Fine Gael Party has been negative when it comes to the economy. I would like to remind Deputy McGrath that Fine Gael is the only Party to publish a series of job creation policies to get the country back to work and to propose an alternative budget that was fair and that defended the interests of the weakest members of society.
“Deputy McGrath, it would appear, is living in a parallel universe when it comes to the economy. His claims that unemployment will not be as high in the future as previously forecast are outrageous considering the Government has estimated that it will spend an extra €3 billion on social welfare payments next year and that a further 75,000 will join the dole queue next year. Furthermore claims that consumer confidence is showing signs of revival are nonsense as the CSO, only last week, outlined that consumer spending has decreased by more than 9% in the last year.
“Deputy McGrath has also displayed a startling lack of knowledge when it comes to NAMA by suggesting that it will get credit flowing back into the economy. The dogs in the street, and more importantly the thousands of cash starved SMEs, know that NAMA is little more than a bail-out for the developer and banker friends of Fianna Fáil. I invite deputy McGrath to check out Fine Gael’s positive alternative to NAMA, which would see the risk shifted away from the taxpayer and credit lines restored within a matter of months.
“I agree with Deputy McGrath that we need to restore competitiveness to our economy. Fine Gael would achieve this by investing, through our NewERA proposal, in infrastructure such as broadband, public transport, and new energies. Conversely, Fianna Fáil hopes to make Ireland more competitive by slashing capital investment and taking money out of the pockets of the disabled, carers, the blind and young people.
“Fianna Fáil needs to adopt Fine Gael’s policies now, if there is to be any chance of getting Ireland back to work. Alternatively, they could step aside and make way for a Fine Gael Government and a new team with a fresh ideas and myriad proposals to get the country back on track.”