News & Media

Fine Gael leaving South East behind

31 July 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Responding to the Waterford IT study finding that workers in the South East typically earn half the national average, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, said that the Project Ireland 2040 plan needs to be re-written to increase investment and economic opportunities in Wexford and the South East region.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The National Action Plan for Jobs aims to ensure equality of opportunity to find decent employment across the whole country. But this aim needs to be matched with resource allocations.

“As the study’s authors conclude, there is no evidence of ‘significant disruptive actions’ being taken by this Fine Gael Government to support the aims of the Action Plan for Jobs.

“The South East has clearly not received a fair allocation of IDA activity, and this needs to be compensated for in future years. But private investment will only come to the South East if infrastructure and the economic potential of the region is improved. That is why the Project Ireland 2040 plan needs to be completely redrawn to increase the level of State investment going into the region to help build local industries and to attract more private investment.

“It is truly shocking that the Fine Gael Government has no significant infrastructure investment plans for the region that needs it most.

“The South East suffers higher unemployment than nearly every other region, and as this study shows, typical wages in the South East are among the lowest in the country. A major programme of infrastructural development is needed to ensure that the South East has a genuine opportunity to catch up to the level of economic development enjoyed in other areas of the country.

“Specifically, a new plan needs to include a commitment to finish the M11 motorway to Rosslare Europort, an indicative allocation for the building of new campuses for the Technical University of the South East, and a major restructuring of Rosslare Europort to allow it to fulfil its true potential.”