Bankers who brought this Country to it’s kneels must be held to account – BREEN.

February 6th, 2009 - Pat Breen
Speaking during the Debate on the Economy in the Dail this week Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. warned that “those bankers who have brought us to our knees by bankrolling their developer friends. People like Mr. Seán Fitzpatrick must be held to account for their actions.” Deputy Breen criticised the “lack of Ministerial Clout” in the Mid-West Region, while adding that “we can recover” from the present crisis, “but leadership, which is absent on the other side of the house, will be required.”

“No one denies the extent of the problems facing the economy. With a hole in our finances worth €15 billion, we must find a further €2 billion this year. Every day, streams of people attend my constituency office, the latest victims of the Government’s inability to grapple with the enormity of the crisis. They come from all walks of life, including engineering professionals, the self-employed in particular, and manufacturing and shop workers. They never believed that they could find themselves in this serious situation.”

Pointing to the problems facing small and medium businesses where he said “small shops close every day in my constituency, resulting in four, six or ten people losing their jobs. Such closures are going unnoticed for a number of reasons.” He urged the Government to “address our VAT rates, which are driving hundreds and thousands of people across the Border.”

Deputy Breen added that the Farming Sector is also in crisis. “Many farmers took on bridging loans because they wanted to undertake projects under the farm waste management scheme and “Last night, the House was told that, more or less, there is no money to pay the farmers because the Government cannot do its sums.”

Deputy Breen went on to say that “These factors exist against a backdrop of a Government that has shown no leadership and a Taoiseach who told the House that he intends to do it his way. The fear is that, by doing it his way, he might be biting off more than he can chew.”

Pointing to the difficulties in the Mid-West Region Deputy Breen said that “Unfortunately, our region has no ministerial clout and no one is prepared to stand up and be counted. Our former Ministers, people such as Deputy Noonan and Des O’Malley, were great, but no Minister is fighting for us now.”

Referring to the setting up of the Mid-West Jobs Task Force Deputy Breen added that “If a task force is to be established, it must have the clout, teeth and resources to do the job instead of simply being a talking shop.”

“We can recover”, Deputy Breen said, “but leadership, which is absent on the other side of the House, will be required.”

 

“We can no longer afford to go without actions or plans.” He said.

 

Statements on the Economy

 

Thursday, 29th January 2009

Deputy Pat Breen:

I concur with Deputy Ring and my party leader, Deputy Kenny, who stated on Tuesday that the Government was bereft of ideas, decisions, direction and the courage to govern. No one denies the extent of the problems facing the economy. With a hole in our finances worth €15 billion, we must find a further €2 billion this year. The ESRI forecasted that another 120,000 people will be unemployed by the end of this year. Compared to our last recession, which occurred in the 1980s, this recession are ten or 20 times worse. The most jobs lost in a single year in the 1980s were 25,000 and, unlike then, our banks have serious problems.

 

Every day, streams of people attend my constituency office, the latest victims of the Government’s inability to grapple with the enormity of the crisis. They come from all walks of life, including engineering professionals, the self-employed in particular, and manufacturing and shop workers. They never believed that they could find themselves in this serious situation. In the past 12 months, the number on the live register in my constituency of County Clare has increased by 59.8%. I could name all of the companies that have closed.

For example, Molex Limited in Shannon will shed 150 jobs, but Dell was the largest case in the mid-west, involving 1,900 job losses, of which 400 people came from County Clare.

In these changed economic times, we also have a problem with the separation of the airports. Today, rumours tell of how Ryanair is about to reduce from six to four its number of aircraft based at Shannon Airport. This would result in routes from the airport being axed.

 

Turning to small and medium enterprises, small shops close every day in my constituency, resulting in four, six or ten people losing their jobs. Such closures are going unnoticed for a number of reasons. The Government must address our VAT rates, which are driving hundreds and thousands of people across the Border because they are less favourable than the United Kingdom’s. There is a crisis in the farming community. Like Deputy Ring, many farmers took on bridging loans because they wanted to undertake projects under the farm waste management scheme. Last night, the House was told that, more or less, there is no money to pay the farmers because the Government cannot do its sums.

These factors exist against a backdrop of a Government that has shown no leadership and a Taoiseach who told the House that he intends to do it his way. The fear is that, by doing it his way, he might be biting off more than he can chew.

 

I understand that the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment will establish a task force on the mid-west in the next day or so and that its members will be announced shortly.

However, Fine Gael has made proposals and taken the lead throughout the crisis. In fact, most of the ideas tabled by Deputy Bruton have been taken on by the Government. We in the mid-west also have ideas. Our party leader will be there next week to announce our initiative.

 

Unfortunately, our region has no ministerial clout and no one is prepared to stand up and be counted. Our former Ministers, people such as Deputy Noonan and Des O’Malley, were great, but no Minister is fighting for us now. If a task force is to be established, it must have the clout, teeth and resources to do the job instead of simply being a talking shop.

 

Acting Chairman (Deputy Seán Ardagh):

The Deputy has approximately 30 seconds remaining.

Deputy Pat Breen:

Leadership is about action, not position. Last night, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, announced a $825 billion economic stimulus package. Already, the markets have reacted positively. People will accept pain, but only if it is shared equitably. As Deputy Ring stated, the most vulnerable in society should not pay a price because of those bankers who have brought us to our knees by bankrolling their developer friends. People like Mr. Seán Fitzpatrick must be held to account for their actions.

We can no longer afford to go without actions or plans. We can recover, but leadership, which is absent on the other side of the House, will be required.