Speech by the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD
At the ICTU conference, “A New Course for Better Times”
11th April 2014
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow speakers, good afternoon.
This is a very timely conference and I’d like to thank the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, President John Douglas and General Secretary David Begg for the kind invitation to address you here today.
It was John Maynard Keynes who famously said that:
“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”
Pre-2008, Ireland had an economy built on casino construction, and we know only too well the disastrous effects of that.
We are still living with them.
But the good news – as the latest ESRI report indicates today – is that the effects are easing, slowly but surely.
When the Labour Party took office in 2011, the country was in a downward spiral – no investment, no growth, no jobs.
Thanks to the work done by the Government, and the willingness of the Irish people to stay the course – despite the enormous demands made of them – we have now moved into a virtuous circle.
We have exited the bailout, the economy is growing again and, crucially, we are getting people back to work.
The crisis is over and the recovery has begun – that was the first phase.
However, we now face what is in many ways the more challenging phase – ensuring that the recovery is felt in every person’s life and in every family and community across the country.
To do so, the Labour Party in government and its allies in the trade union movement will have to spell out a vision of the society we want to achieve.
And then we will have to fight for it. (more…)