Howlin defends Labour's record on turning around economy


Published 13/02/2016 | 00:00

MINISTER Brendan Howlin (pictured) said Labour should be unapologetic about turning the economy around and the difficult steps needed to rebuild it.

He said that when the Coalition came to power, the economy that had been driven off the cliff by 'the serial offenders' of Fianna Fail.

'When we entered office the national deficit stood at 32 per cent of GDP. Last year it was 1.5 per cent,' he said, speaking at the launch of the Labour Party's general election campaign.

'The National Debt peaked at over 120 per cent. This year it will fall to just over 90% or around the European Average,' he said, 'the Fianna Fáil government was forced to seek troika assistance when interest rates charged on our bond yields exceeded 10 per cent. This week they were less than 1 per cent.'

The Wexford deputy said Labour has been at the heart of this recovery.

'And we are particularly proud of one statistic. The near halving of unemployment. We should be proud of this achievement. Proclaim it on the doorsteps. We stood up to the plate and did the job when it needed to be done,' he said, adding that the next phase of the recovery was the social recovery.

'Our economic recovery is robust. The sky is not about to fall down. Growth targets for 2015 and 2016 already exceeded. Actual tax returns running billions ahead of schedule.

'We've fixed the banks. They no longer pose a systemic threat to the economy. Of course the global economy poses challenges to our level of growth.

But the Irish people know to their cost know they've much more to fear from Fianna Fail than anything else.

'The party that once apologised for its role in the economy now wants us to forget it. We won't,' he said.

Wexford People

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