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wwwSinn Féin brought its Private Members' Business Motion on the European Stability Mechanism in front of the Dáil on March 22nd. In supporting the motion Mick speaks about mass unemployment across Europe and the consequences of severe austerity measures. Investment has meant job growth in the American market for the past 23 months and Mick calls on the Government to follow their lead. You can watch his speech here.

There is a spectre haunting Europe. It is the spectre of mass unemployment. At the moment, there are 16.9 million unemployed people in the 17 country eurozone and 24.3 million unemployed in the 27 countries. In Spain alone, there are 5.3 million unemployed. In Greece, one in five people are unemployed. There has been a 40% rise in suicide rates in Greece. Austerity is literally killing Europeans. The only solution to the austerity induced unemployment seems to be more austerity. The Germans argue that any loosening of the fiscal purse strings will increase borrowing costs and might panic the bond markets, yet economic stimulus is working in America. There have been 23 consecutive months of job growth in the US. They have created 3.7 million new jobs in the private sector alone over the past two years, yet we are insisting on turning our back on such a measure. The irony is that mass unemployment itself is the biggest barrier to deficit reduction. The best way to cut borrowing levels is to get people back to work and paying taxes. Unlike GDP or inflation, unemployment is the only major economic indicator that measures real human beings rather than growth or prices. Having a job is not just about earning a living and paying taxes. It is about human dignity and self worth. We are looking at serious social consequences, such as financial hardship, emotional stress, depression, loss of morale and status among people, sickness, premature death, crime, disorder and social unrest. There is more to life than the Government’s fiscal package. It is about time it started looking at the big picture. Last week Mick spoke in the Dáil on the Banking Sector Regulation Motion and raised some similar points. You can watch the footage here while the transcript is below. I thought I heard it said here a few months ago that no people would be thrown out of their houses, but perhaps I misheard that. There is no funding available for small and medium-sized businesses. I do not understand how this is. We heard so much about a strategic investment bank, but there is still no sign of it. Patrick Honohan said this month: “A key societal function of banks and other financiers is the gathering and processing of the information necessary to make good loan decisions and to continue monitoring the performance of borrowers, intervening promptly where necessary to protect the sums advanced”. It is clear this did not happen in the boom times and it is clear it is not happening now either. The effectiveness of any financial system relates to how it caters for firms when they are in need and is best evidenced by its capacity to service small firms. There is no logic behind what is going on. It was interesting to hear the suggestion of the British politician Vince Cable this week. He suggested the RBS should be used as a new British investment bank, with a clean balance sheet and a mandate to lend to sound businesses. That would be a great idea here, would it not? We are prepared to use taxpayers’ money to throw at the banks lock, stock and barrel, but we cannot tell them what to do. They tell us they are meeting their lending criteria and guidelines but we know that is not true. Since when did the banks tell us the truth? Most of the banks only moved towards restructuring, not new loans. If people need money from a bank in this country, it is hard to get it but it is easy get it if one does not need it.



Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.


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