Offaly Fine Gael TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, has said that Ireland’s exit from the bailout will help attract jobs and investment to the country.
“While we are not there yet, exiting the bailout is a milestone on the road to economic recovery for Ireland. The fact that, from December 15th we are no longer a bailout country will send a further signal to home-grown and foreign investors that Ireland is a great place to base their business and create jobs.
“The EU/IMF arrived three years ago this month. Having our economic sovereignty taken from us was possibly the lowest moment in the history of the State. However, the contrast between then and now could not be greater.
“Our economy is experiencing growth for the third consecutive year and 3,000 new jobs are being created every month. The number of people on the live register has dropped for the sixteenth consecutive month and is now under 400,000 for the first time since 2009. The NTMA has more than €20 billion in cash reserves and interest rates on Irish Government bonds are historically low.
“Our focus from day one has been on job creation and it remains so to this day. Employment grew by 1.8% in the second quarter of 2013; the strongest growth rate recorded in five years.
“This Government has had to take difficult decisions to help Ireland emerge from bankruptcy. However we have tried, as much as we can, to improve the situation for families by removing 330,000 people from paying the Universal Social Charge; by restoring the minimum wage; by reducing the lower rate of VAT to 9%; by not increasing income tax rates and by protecting our corporation tax rate, which supports thousands of jobs right across Ireland.
“I am disappointed with the response of Fianna Fáil to the bailout exit. Having mismanaged Ireland to the point of bankruptcy and then sleepwalked us into the bailout, Fianna Fáil has poured scorn on the fact that we are exiting the programme. This is because they are all too aware of the contrast between their drastic reign and this Government’s considered and sustainable management of the economy.
“Challenges remain, but this is a very significant step forward for Ireland. A clean exit from the bailout bodes extremely well for continuing our economic recovery and creating more jobs.”