“At this moment almost half a million people in this state languish on the dole. 466,000 men and women of all ages, skill levels and experience on a daily basis are living with the reality of not having work. These are the stark facts of first Fianna Fáil and now Fine Gael and Labour Party policies having failed the people of this state.
One in three of the workers in my constituency of Donegal North East are out of full time employment with the vast majority unemployed. The impact of so many losing their jobs has been devastating.
The curse of unemployment does not stop with the people on the dole. Hundreds of thousands of children are dependent on unemployed parents.
Their collective incomes have plummeted in the last two years while in many cases their household expenditure with regards mortgages, loans, food, fuel etc. have remained rigid or are indeed increasing. Not to speak of the despair and collapse in confidence that unemployment has brought.
Hundreds of thousands of others have been forced to emigrate. Roughly the same amount of people who sit the leaving cert this year will emigrate this year.
This has the effect of decimating communities, deflating the generation with most energy and breaking up families in many cases for ever.
This Government promised us all would be OK. They would produce a Jobs Initiative within 100 days of taking power.
However, the reality is that the thrust of their economic policy is in fact extinguishing the demand that is necessary to create jobs. Figures within the Jobs Initiative stated that there will be an additional €40 million invested in Current expenditure and Capital expenditure. This €40 million contrasts sharply with the €24 billion, this government is pouring into the banks.
It’s also important to identify the gaping holes in this initiative. The €40 million Jobs Initiative equals 400 jobs. That is the equivalent of two large Tesco shops or the number of young people who will emigrate in 3 days.
Sinn Féin is committed to a real jobs stimulus, capable of injecting life into the Irish economy. It makes absolute economic sense.
We would use €2 billion from the National Pension Reserve fund to fast track labour intensive infrastructure projects. These would include school and hospital building, upgrading roads, water and sewerage infrastructure, developing public transport networks and rolling out State wide broadband services.
We would invest €600 million into supporting businesses in their efforts to maintain those who are already employed in viable businesses.
Our people deserve to be given hope for both themselves and future generations. Our businesses and entrepreneurs need an economic environment that encourages investment and building for the future.
The Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour programmes of austerity have strangled hope and discouraged investment.
At this Ard Fhéis, we commit ourselves to challenge the economic madness of sustained anti- growth austerity. We commit Sinn Féin’s plan for real growth and sustainable prosperity to the Irish people.”