Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has hit out after it was revealed that the first tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan will be paid out to Ireland on Wednesday.
He said the transfer of loans was the “final nail in the coffin of Irish economic sovereignty” and warned the conditionality attached to the loan would hinder economic growth.
“The interest rate being charged on this first part of the loan is scandalous,” he said.
“The EU is set to make a tidy profit of 3% on this loan, pushing up the cost of this intervention to an already beleaguered Irish economy.
“We must strongly question why this Government has entered the Irish people into such a bad deal and why the European Commission, in their misguided attempt to help the Irish economy, are actually taking advantage of an opportunity.
“It was bare-faced profiteering that brought about this crisis and this same profiteering will only make the Irish situation worse.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed the number of people joining the unemployment ‘Live Register’ jumped by 5,200 in December, resuming an upward climb after four months of declines.
Seasonally-adjusted figures show that there were 440,000 people signing on in December 2010. The unemployment rate now stands at 13.4 per cent.
In terms of regional trends, the largest increase took place in the south-east which saw a jump of 3.9 per cent in people signing on, while the west of the country saw the number of people joining the live register increase by 3.3 per cent. Dublin saw the smallest increase, at 1.6 per cent.
The statistical returns indicate that firms are increasingly turning to part-time working to cut costs.
There was also a broad acceptance that the unemployment rate would have been far higher only for the resumption of mass emigration.
“We are in a New Year but the same problem persists,” said Sinn Fein enterprise spokesperson.
“A lack of job creation has seen unemployment rise again,
“It must be remembered that the true extent of unemployment is hidden behind casual employment in the run up to Christmas in the retail sector when traditionally shops take on extra holiday staff.
“These figures are only telling half the story as emigration continues to mask the true extent of the unemployment crisis.
He said the exchequer figures showed a positive export performance and there is “no doubt that this Government has been successful in exporting its people.
“The Government is so immersed in bailing out banks are diverting yet more funds into these defunct institutions that more and more people are falling into the unemployment trap.
“Nevermore has the need for a stimulus package been greater felt. If the Government continue on their path of fiscal contraction, exasperated by the EU/IMF bailout, then this pattern will continue.”