Belfast Telegraph

Economy 'will sink like Titanic'

The economy will sink like the Titanic unless the country is steered on a dramatically new course, a senior trade union leader has warned.

David Begg, the head of umbrella union group Congress, told graduates that the Government's handling of the downturn was like the reaction of the crew on board the doomed ship.

The Congress chief, who will protest with other union bosses when the Dail resumes next week, said the country would stagnate and suffer in a "lost decade" unless new policies are adopted.

"Like the officers of the Titanic, by steaming on, we will compound our first error with a second. We must slow down and change course before we do irreparable damage to the economy and society," Mr Begg said.

Mr Begg, who addressed a graduation ceremony at the National College of Ireland, said his organisation has been arguing for over a year that continued massive borrowing cuts will kill off prospects for growth.

And he claimed that there appeared to be a growing realisation among industry circles that the Government's growth model is no longer fit for purpose.

He said the consensus that Ireland must stick to borrowing just 3% of the Gross Domestic Product - the value of all goods and services produced in Ireland - by 2014 would cause further recession and deflation.

The Central Statistics Office this week revealed Ireland's economy shrank again between April and June after showing signs of an upturn at the start of the year.

The figures sparked fears of a double-dip recession.

Mr Begg added: "If, in these circumstances, if we take another three billion euro - or perhaps more - out of the economy in December's budget, we will kill the possibility of growth reigniting."

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