Call for an all-island economy

The circumstances are right for the establishment of an economic strategy which can guarantee prosperity, quality of life and equality of opportunity for all on the island of Ireland, according to SIPTU's National Campaigns' Official, Anne Speed.


“But while business efficiency and successful long-term economic strategies are important for any government or assembly, so too is quality of life. Whether it is Derry or Dublin, Limavady or Listowel”, she said.


“The reality of economic life in Ireland today is that over 5.7 million people share this little island of ours: 324,000 are entrepreneurs, over 2.8 million are workers, 1.1 million are living in poverty and 1.1 million are without any formal education.  In fact, only 39 per cent of people between the ages of 25-34 have reached third-level education in the 26 counties and only 35.5 per cent in the North.


“There are over 300 thousand (314,980) VAT-registered businesses on the island — yet the level of Research and Development in the 26 counties is only 1.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and 0.5 per cent of Gross Value Added in the North.  Both figures are incredibly low by any international standards and are not evidence of any strategy for success. 


“All citizens in the island of Ireland — working in paid employment or in the home — are coming under pressure from external sources.  Not just about competitiveness — or the threat of job displacement — but from the global economic and environmental challenges facing us.

 “And we all face the same problems of inequality, economic underdevelopment, the lack of an effective enterprise strategy, and the need for the kind of economic policies which will create jobs, nurture families, and strengthen and revitalise our neighbourhoods and communities.  Indeed we hear a lot of calls for the harmonisation of corporation tax, but very little about the burden of VAT or income tax on working people. “Addressing these issues collectively and democratically across the island is the best way to build a sustainable future for everyone”, she concluded.