Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the Irish Government must outline in the 2018 Budget how they intend to protect the economy from Brexit.
The Ireland South MEP, who is a coordinator on EU Budgets Committee, was speaking as Sinn Féin launched their Alternative Budget 2018 which lays out a raft of proposals for protecting the economy.
“Sinn Féin are all too aware of the challenges Brexit will present for Ireland and have been mindful of that when drafting the 2018 Alternative Budget,” she said.
“While the major consequences of Brexit will only kick in post 2019, when the British have left, when the contributions the EU receives are down and when the new MFF (Multi Annual Financial Framework) comes into force, now is the time to begin planning for those outcomes.
“While small scale schemes targeted at specific groups have a part to play in tackling the impact of Brexit what is needed on a national level is for the Government to commit to a radical, ambitious and thought out Capital Plan.
“We have one of the lowest levels of capital investment in Europe and successive EU Commission reports have highlighted infrastructural deficiencies as a threat to long term growth.
“That is neither acceptable nor sustainable. The face of this underinvestment can be seen in the housing and health crises, flood defences, our children educated in prefabs, and raw sewage flowing into our rivers and sea. That is not an economy that can face and survive the impact of Brexit.
“In our fully costed Alternative Budget we have outlined a Capital Investment Plan that would increase capital spend by €1.65 billion euro above the Government’s plans, resulting in a rate of capital investment to GNP of 2.84%.
“We have also outlined plans for an additional €1 million to Science Foundation Ireland to pursue Brexit related opportunities in the research and innovation field, proposed a €10m Brexit Export Support Fund aimed at SMEs and farming enterprises that are in need of Brexit support funds and appointed increased resources to bodies like Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, InterTrade Ireland and Tourism Ireland.
“Spin and announcements won’t see off the challenge of Brexit but a well planned and will give us the boost and protection the economy needs.”
Find the Sinn Féin Alternative Budget 2018 online at https://www.sinnfein.ie/files/2017/Budget2018.pdf