€7bn plan could create 80,000 jobs

Such a three-year investment programme has been proposed by social and economic think-tank and lobby group Social Justice Ireland, which has warned that “without investment there will be no jobs, without jobs there will be no recovery and without recovery Ireland will be stuck in austerity”. 

While much of what the group is proposing is already contained in the Government’s long-term plans, Social Justice Ireland wants those plans fast-tracked; saying such investment — in things like renewable energy, social housing, care facilities, school and healthcare facilities, water services, roads and childhood care and education — could boost economic growth by 2% next year, 2.3% in 2015 and by 1.1% in 2016.

Social Justice Ireland is proposing the €7bn is invested in three yearly tranches, of €2.5bn, €3bn and €1.5bn and that it — crucially — be funded from “off-balance sheet” sources such as commercial semi-state borrowings, domestic pension fund investment, the European Investment Bank and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund.

Its director Dr Sean Healy said the need for such investment is rooted in the fact that Ireland currently has the lowest investment level of all 28 EU member states.

“All other countries, experiencing crisis in recent years, have substantially higher levels of investment than Ireland. The scale of investment must increase if we are to have growth, jobs and recovery.”

Dr Healy also stressed that such an investment programme would not be a panacea, but would have the potential to assist in lifting growth, employment and the domestic economy.

“Government has proposed a smaller investment programme over a much longer timeframe. That programme will not produce anything close to the scale of job creation that Ireland currently needs if it is to really reduce unemployment and generate recovery.”

The three-year programme, Dr Healy said, would also generate between 56,000 and 84,000 additional jobs over its timeframe and provide up to €2.9bn in additional annual tax revenues; as well as providing new lines of Government revenue from things like water revenue and green energy sources. Source: The Irish Examiner