Economic issues dominate election campaigns

Thursday 03 February 2011 22.54
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Enda Kenny - Concerned about impact of Universal Social Charge
Enda Kenny - Concerned about impact of Universal Social Charge
Brian Lenihan - Held news conference this morning
Brian Lenihan - Held news conference this morning
John Gormley - Targeting last seat in nine constituencies
John Gormley - Targeting last seat in nine constituencies
Eamon Gilmore - USC was 'badly thought out'
Eamon Gilmore - USC was 'badly thought out'
Economic issues dominate election campaigns

The issue of jobs and how to create them has dominated the various election campaigns, as parties unveiled their economic policies.

Fine Gael unveiled a five year plan for job creation while Sinn Fein had a ten point plan.

Meanwhile Fianna Fail's Brian Lenihan said that any renegotiation of the IMF/EU deal proposed by Labour today was 'nonsense' and said the claim by Fine Gael that it is a low tax party was 'bogus'.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny had earlier claimed that none of Brian Lenihan's economic projections stood up. He said Mr Lenihan was the one minister that could least afford to make comments about predictions and outlooks.

Mr Kenny made the comments after launching his party's plans for job creation. Fine Gael claimed it was the only forward a comprehensive jobs and growth policy.

'The outgoing Fianna Fáil/Green Government has produced nothing but vague plans with woolly targets.' said Richard Bruton.

Enda Kenny committed any Government he leads to creating one 100,000 jobs net over five years. He also said no more than one third of the budget adjustments it introduces will come through tax increases.

But Fine Gael was not the only party revealing its economic policies - Sinn Féin unveiled its 10 point plan on creating jobs, with Mary Lou McDonald warning that Ireland was 'in danger of losing hundreds of thousands of people' to emigration.

Labour too revealed its economic document this morning, Labour proposes to extend the period of the IMF-EU deal to 2016 and commits the party to renegotiate its terms.

The party says it will draw up a seven-year National Development Plan and make changes to the Universal Social Charge, which it says was badly thought out.

Unlike Fine Gael, Labour wants to extend the IMF deal by one year, and reduce the planned €10 billion adjustment to €7 billion

The Green Party officially launched its election campaign at the Sugar Club in Dublin, with leader John Gormley telling the news conference it hopes to contest every constituency.

The party has already nominated 39 candidates.

Mr Gormley said that realistically it would be targeting the last seat in nine constituencies.

Economic issues also dominated this morning as Brian Lenihan held the first news conference of the day in Dublin.

For Fianna Fáil, the Minister for Finance insisted unilateral change to a plan agreed with the EU and IMF was impossible, that the Government had already done the heavy budgetary lifting, and that Fine Gael and Labour were ducking the hard decisions and could not agree in Government.