Private Members Motion- 26th-27th November

The argument of Government Members against this motion is entirely strengthened and underlined by yesterday’s news on employment and the revelation that over the past year, 58,000 new jobs have been created in the private sectors over four consecutive quarters. Moreover, 1,200 jobs per week are being created at present in the private sector, in contrast with the 1,600 jobs per week that were being lost under the previous Administration. That is the backdrop to the motion and the only way in which one can consider it.
I accept fully that additional measures are required to improve further the jobs situation. Further stimuli are needed, as are better credit lines. Moreover, it is necessary to have the youth guarantee scheme up and running and to continue with prudential financial management and probity in the State’s finances to give confidence to inward investors. I note all of this is taking place, and it merits, stating that as Ireland exits the bailout, Members should applaud the people for their fortitude and good sense, as well as the manner in which they have stayed with Members in the project. One cannot underestimate the pain people have suffered and that should never be understated. The people merit applause in this House for the manner in which they have coped. They must have felt justified in their forbearance by yesterday’s outcome, the promissory note deal to which I will turn later and other issues. It was necessary to get the correct conditions to get job creation going and one must have full and independent access to the financial markets, which is pending. In addition, Ireland has had good outings in those markets in recent years and I note Moody’s is upgrading Ireland’s status considerably. Ireland needed to and has restored its international reputation. It also has reduced the State deficit to a point where the budget deficit will be 7.4% of GDP this year and is on target to reach 3% by 2015, which is an extraordinarily important aspect.
While it is all about job creation and that is the only agenda, everything the Government does is predicated around achieving that. No one can understate the horrendous youth unemployment problem but at least the number of young people at work has increased by 3,200 or more than 2% over the past year. In addition, long-term unemployment has dropped from 8.9% to 7.6%. The Government also has reduced the cost of State borrowing by €20 billion in the next ten years. This is due to the replacement of the promissory notes and the associated annual payment of €3.1 billion with long-term, low-interest Government bonds over a 25 to 40 year period, on which the State will pay a floating 3% to 3.5% interest rate.
We will borrow the money from the Central Bank which receives loans from the ECB at 1% or less, meaning our Central Bank stands to make 2.5% profit per year. The Exchequer will profit and the effective interest rate will be 1%.
The difficulty with the motion and the proposition before the House is that it would destroy our prospects of getting funding from the international markets. It would undo almost three years of backbreaking work and great sacrifices by the Irish people. It would be silly to effectively do a U-turn at this critical juncture, having got so far. It would damage us on the international markets which would ultimately have implications for the financing of public services such as social welfare, health and education. Job creation would be jeopardised by this proposal and critically, it would affect inward investment which is vital for job creation. We are only a few weeks away from exiting the bailout. We are getting the public finances under control. We have achieved this while maintaining core social welfare rates and without increasing personal direct taxation and while maintaining direct payments to our farmers which supports the rural society affected by the imbalance in job creation. We are now creating jobs and there are signs that the economy is in recovery. It would be bizarre and crazy to change course at this point when we are winning. I urge the people proposing the motion to reflect and to modify it accordingly so that we can agree a revised motion.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website