Belfast Telegraph

Fine Gael unveils policy pledge

The unemployment and emigration crisis will be top of Fine Gael's agenda when the Dail resumes, the party said.

Enterprise and jobs spokesman Richard Bruton revealed the party will use its first Dail motion of the new term to highlight its jobs plan.

Elsewhere the party also plans to move the writs for three outstanding by-elections, in Dublin South, Donegal South West and Waterford, on Wednesday.

Mr Bruton said the jobs crisis is acutely affecting our young generation. "Over 80% of the jobs lost have hit those under the age of 30," said Mr Bruton.

"Ireland is facing into a massive brain drain, with 100,000 already departed from our shores and another 65,000 set to join them this year. Many of these are highly educated graduates that we need to rebuild the shattered economy. The damaging effects of this recession could have been avoided."

Mr Bruton maintained that both before and during the jobs crisis Fine Gael consistently warned the Government about the destruction of the export sector, spending on the back of a temporary building boom, the need to reform public sector and the danger of making taxpayers underwrite bank losses.

He said if Government had followed his party's job creation proposals, set out before the last budget, 50,000 people would be back in work or training while the country still met its fiscal responsibilities.

Key initiatives include selling old State assets to provide the equity base for a major investment programme in key economic arteries without depending on Exchequer borrowing and cutting the cost of employing people by reducing employers PRSI. He also plans to take up the challenge of Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary who promises six million extra tourists if the airport tax is scrapped.

Meanwhile Fine Gael's environment spokesperson, Phil Hogan, announced the party would move the writs for the three outstanding by-elections when the Dail resumes on Wednesday.

"It is clear that the Government is unravelling," Mr Hogan said. "We need an immediate general election for a new government with a new mandate who can bring forward the new ideas we need to get our country working again. I call on Green Party and Independents to support the Fine Gael motions in order to ensure not only full parliamentary representation for the people of those constituencies but to give full effect to proper parliamentary democracy, respect for the Dail and upholding the Constitution."

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