OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE responded with strong words to the Government’s €2.25 billion stimulus package announced yesterday.
Sinn Féin have called the announcement tired and anaemic, and the party’s finance and enterprise spokespersons Pearse Doherty and Peadar Toibín said the Government was “spinning on stimulus”. This was echoed by Fianna Fáil, with public expenditure spokesperson Seán Fleming calling it a “spin-driven announcement”.
Having to wait up to six years to see key elements of this programme is of no use to the almost 15 per cent of the workforce that’s on the live register, or the record numbers of youth unemployed.
Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Billy Kelleher has called on the Government to explain “why it has raided the funds earmarked for the National Children’s Hospital”. Kelleher was referring to plans to use money from the sale of state assets to fund elements of the stimulus package.
Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described the health element of the package as “vague, over-complicated and minimalist”, and he said that the public-private primary care partnerships announced are “poor value for public money”.
SIPTU meanwhile has welcomed the package, calling it an “important first step”. However general president Jack O’Connor said that the trade union did not agree with the ECB/EU/IMF’s “insistence on the sell off of our state assets to pay bond holders”.
Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation has welcomed the recognition that there is a problem in the sector, but echoed SIPTU’s concern that it’s not happening quickly enough.
Parlon said that Ireland is losing workers and skills – about 5,000 from the sector in the past year, and said recruiting from abroad for projects detailed in the stimulus package is not out of the question.