The Government had reduced their contribution from €450 milllion down to
€50 million breaking a promise made by the Taoiseach to the people of
Donegal before last year’s election, claims the party.
It was anticipated that the “stimulus” package of 2 billion euro would include provision for the A5.
In a joint statement, the two Donegal TDs said: “We are outraged at this decision. The Taoiseach and his Government blatantly broke their promise to the people of Donegal when they cut funding to the A5 project.
“They used the excuse of overall cutbacks to capital spending for this broken promise and when this investment package was announced, the people of Donegal rightly understood that that promise would now be honoured.
“Thankfully, the Six County Executive have met their commitments to this crucial project thanks to the leadership of Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson.
“For that reason, Donegal will not be allowed to be neglected by yet another Dublin based Government.
“However, we need the same leadership from Fine Gael and Labour both locally and nationally. This project should not be delayed any further. Our people deserve
equality after decades of neglect”.
On the overall Government announcement, Deputy Doherty, Sinn Féin’s
Finance spokesperson said that the government is “spinning” on stimulus
while people are waiting for real action on jobs.
They said the announcement was too little for the people on the dole and too late
for the people who have left the state.
While welcoming the government’s concession that stimulus is needed –
Deputy Doherty said the government cut the capital budget last year
and intends to cut it next year and the following year, meaning a
slashing of long-term, stable investment which leads to tangible jobs.
Deputy Doherty said: “Today the government announced a multi-annual stimulus plan of €2.25 billion which will span up to 2018. Yet the government still intend to proceed with cutting the capital budget by over €3.5 billion between
now and 2014. How you can claim that spending €2.25 billion on capital
projects, while cutting cumulatively €3.5 billion from capital
investment, is a stimulus, is beyond me.
“The projects announced today are all worthy and there are many more
across every county that haven’t made the list. That is why Sinn Fein
has been arguing for a real stimulus package with additional money
that would go some way to filling the gaps in our health, education,
energy and other vital infrastructure needs, over a period of three
years, while at the same time putting thousands of people back to
work. Today’s announcement is little more than window dressing and
clever accountancy and the net result of the government’s plans will
see a reduction in billions of euro on capital spend, vital
infrastructure not being built and an opportunity missed to put people
back to work.
“The fact that some of this investment is dependent on the sale of
profitable state assets is of huge concern.”
Deputy Mac Lochlainn added: “The largest crisis facing the people of Donegal and Ireland is unemployment and emigration. Since this government has come into power unemployment has continued to increase. The GAA generation is being
deleted from our society and the creativity and energy of whole sector
of Irish society is finding expression in Canada, Australia and
elsewhere. There are nearly 200,000 people long term unemployed. This
announcement today is too little for people on the dole and too late
for those who have left the state.
“A genuine stimulus is welcome, but this is not what is happening
today. Sinn Fein has called for a €13 billion stimulus plan focusing
on infrastructure and new enterprises. This money could be sourced
from the discretionary portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund,
matching funding from the European Investment Bank and an investment
from a more than willing Private Pension sector. Stimulus needs to be
invested into strategic sectors which will bring about the greatest
multiplier effect. It also needs to have an even regional delivery.
Our stimulus along with enterprise reforms and supports would help
kick start the Irish economy, and create long term competitive
“If the government is serious about stimulus, if they are serious
about tackling unemployment, they need to move beyond this timid,
anaemic step, and deliver a stimulus solution that is proportionate to
the catastrophic unemployment and emigration crisis in Ireland today.“
The capital budget spend was cut by €755 million in
2012, meaning €755 million less each year for the foreseeable future.
The Government has previously announced it intends to cut capital
spend by €562 million in 2013 and €120 million in 2014. The cumulative
effects of these cuts are €3.5 billion over three years up to 2014.