Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath TD has described the European Commission’s report on Ireland as a sharp reminder of the many economic challenges that face the country and the urgent need to take action across a range of issues.
Deputy McGrath was reacting to recommendations from the Commission that Ireland needs to do considerably more to tackle unemployment, particularly long term unemployment. It also stated that overspending within the health sector needs to be brought under control and the Government needs to stick to deficit reduction targets.
“The Government has been treading water since the beginning of the year. Across a range of issues there has been a growing sense of an administration that is simply not doing its job. The CSO employment data shows that the much talked about 1,000 extra jobs a week has slowed to little more than 1,000 jobs a quarter. We lost 5,000 jobs in the retail sector in the last three months and the domestic economy remains on the floor. The Department of Finance figures demonstrate negligible progress in tackling the most difficult mortgage arrears cases. Health spending on agency staff is going up at the same time as the Government are taking medical cards from very sick children. All of this has led to an acute sense of frustration on the part of the public as was demonstrated in the strong vote against the Government last week,” commented Deputy McGrath.
“The last thing we need at this stage is another month of internal Labour party wrangling. It appears Labour ministers are set to try to outdo each other in terms of demanding an end to austerity. However, at the same time they are continuing to implement the very policies which have been demonstrated to have hit the poorest in society the hardest. Having taken a drubbing at the polls their sole interest now is extracting political advantage for themselves in the run up to the Budget. It is imperative that the Budget is framed in the best interests of society, balancing the need for economic stability with our obligation to protect low income households. The political interests of the Labour party are of little concern to the public who have grown tired of their broken promises,” added Deputy McGrath.