Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is bailing out the banks more important then bailing out the people?

It seems that the bailing out of banks is more important then bailing out the people. Today’s live register figures show an increase of 6,600 people signing on the dole in May of this year. This is extraordinary as the jobless figure nationally is climbing towards a half a million people. And yet it was announced this week that the Government has pumped another €2 billion into Anglo Irish Bank. When will this madness end?

The Government cannot continue to gamble with the future of the people of this state by throwing good money after bad in a zombie bank while at the same time neglecting all of those out of work. Instead of investing in job creation and retention the Government has cut the social welfare, child benefit and is now eyeing up the lone parent payment and old age pension.

We now have a reality of many thousands of our young, educated and highly trained work-force facing into long term unemployment unless the Government gets serious about job creation. These are people who want to work. They want to put their skills and education to good use. They do not want to emigrate. I know this as I spoke to hundreds of them outside the local social welfare office as they signed postcards demanding jobs.

The Social Welfare Bill, published late last week, is an insult to these people. The Bill is not about encouraging people to work. It is more about targeting the least well off in society to pay for the economic mess and making it tough for our young people to stay in the country.

Sinn Féin has a different plan. We want to stimulate the economy by creating jobs for the unemployed. Last year I published comprehensive job creation proposals for Waterford. Nationally Sinn Féin put forward a document detailing more than 80 proposals to get Ireland back to work. Had these proposals been implemented thousands of jobs could have been saved and new ones created. Today’s live register figures certainly would not be as stark as they are.

And this year we have put forward proposals to take 50,000 young people off the dole by putting them into employment or onto training courses.

It is clear from the positive response that we have got for our ‘Jobs for the Unemployed’ campaign that the people demand action on this issue. They are fed up watching bankers and developers being bailed out while they are left on the dole. The Government must get serious about job creation.

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