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‘Troika’ told their credibility on the economy and on the vulnerable is in question.

The ‘troika’ has been told there are serious questions concerning their credibility on the economy and the vulnerable. At a meeting in Dublin with the ‘Troika’ (European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission) today, Social Justice Ireland argued that:

(1) Ireland’s medium-term targets on growth and related issues are not credible;
(2) Without major adjustment to the terms of the Agreement with the ‘troika’ there will be little economic growth or employment creation and Ireland’s situation will not improve; and
(3) The Irish Government continues to ignore the ‘troika’ position that the vulnerable must be protected in the decisions Government takes particularly in a budgetary context.
 The following were some of the points Social Justice Ireland made in the course of this meeting:

  • There can be no doubt that the Irish Government and the Irish people have shown an exceptional willingness to tackle problems that are within their control.  
  • What can be questioned is whether or not the solutions currently being promoted are actually generating the changes they were meant to produce. While Ireland has reached its benchmarks on a wide range of issues the promised outcomes are not materialising. 
  • Social Justice Ireland believes it is now time for the international institutions and the national governments in countries such as Germany and France to take on their share of the responsibility for what their banks have done.
  • Austerity is not working.
  • Ireland continues to reach its benchmarks on a wide range of issues but it is clear that the promised outcomes are not materialising. Among the missing outcomes Social Justice Ireland highlighted the following:

o    Economic growth is very sluggish and not reaching the forecast targets.
o    Jobs are not being created on the scale required. A further fall in the numbers employed is forecast for 2012.
o    Unemployment is not falling at any significant rate. A slight reduction is forecast for 2012 but it completely based on rising emigration, not on jobs being accessed by those who are unemployed.
o    Finance is not available on the scale required for small and medium enterprises.
o    Essential services are being reduced to such an extent that the health and wellbeing of citizens is being put at risk.
o    Despite the fact that the poverty line fell by more than 10% in a single year the proportion of the population in poverty rose, irrespective of how it is measured.
o    The Community and Voluntary sector, often the place of last resort for many vulnerable people, has seen a huge increase in demand for its services. At the same time its funding has been reduced dramatically.

  • Increased investment is essential if Ireland is to work its way out of its current situation. But this requires adjustments be made to the Bailout Agreement.”  Social Justice Ireland outlined two areas that should be addressed immediately:
  • Firstly, the promissory note liabilities undertaken as part of the bailout of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society. The total cost of these notes, including the interest costs on borrowings, between 2011 and 2031 will be in the region of €85 billion. As Social Justice Ireland has stated on many occasions it is totally unacceptable that the horrendous losses incurred by private sector financial institutions have been imposed on the people of Ireland, particularly as it is abundantly clear that the causes of the Eurozone debt crisis are in fact ultimately attributable to flaws inherent to the design of the Eurozone itself.
  • A wide range of proposals have been made on how the promissory notes issue could be addressed. What is clear is that the debt incurred by Anglo is not the debt of most Irish people and they should not now be impoverished so that this immoral debt can be repaid.
  • Secondly, the Bailout Agreement must also be adjusted to allow Ireland to invest so that it can generate the growth required to emerge from this present situation. For example, the remaining money in the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) could be invested productively in targeted areas that will generate jobs

Social Justice Ireland also stated that:

  • While the ‘troika had stated that ‘Government should be guided in its decision-making by the principle of protecting the vulnerable’ this principle is not being heeded. 
  • Government has made a range of decisions that seriously damage Ireland’s most vulnerable people and place a disproportionate burden on their shoulders.  
  • Consequently, Social Justice Ireland strongly urged the IMF/ECB/EC troika to include these commitments on protecting the vulnerable and on prioritising unemployment within the text of the Memorandum of Understanding.