Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister has claimed the country is on course for a return to economic prosperity in 2013 – but warned of more haircut budgets ahead.
Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore made his comments as protestors clashed with police outside his party’s annual delegate meeting in Galway.
Gilmore told over 800 members of his party that Ireland is on course to meet all EU-IMF bail-out targets by next year and regain economic independence.
As he spoke, near riots broke out between anti-household charge protestors and police outside the Galway University conference hall.
“This Government has a clear strategy and a road map for recovery. There will be no more muddling through or hoping that something will turn up as with the previous administration,” Gilmore is reported as saying by the Irish Times.
“Economic recovery is the Government’s primary purpose but it is not an end in itself. It is the means to an end, to making Ireland a fair and just society.
“The Government is working to a plan. Firstly, we are restoring our international reputation.
“Ireland depends on the outside world, probably more than most other countries. We export 80 per cent of everything we produce. We rely heavily on foreign investment to create jobs.”
Gilmore added: “Second, we have set out to increase our exports and grow new markets. That is happening.
“Exports are up €3.7 billion last year, and we are making progress developing new markets.
“The third plank in the recovery strategy is to stimulate the domestic economy.
“Fourthly, we have to tackle the problem of distressed mortgages. The biggest fear any of us has is not losing our job, it is losing our home. I am deeply frustrated by how slow progress has been in this area.
“Fifthly, the State’s debt problem has to managed. ‘Don’t Pay’ might sound good as a slogan but it is neither smart, nor sensible, nor a solution.
“Finally, and not a moment too soon, we will reclaim our economic independence and say goodbye to the troika.”
The Wall Street Journal website quotes Gilmore as saying the junior coalition party has: Helped pull Ireland back from the edge of national bankruptcy and the country was on course to emerge from its international bailout program next year.
“We have now succeeded in pulling it back from the edge, stabilizing our economy and our finances, restoring our international reputation and laying the foundations for recovery,” he said.
Gilmore’s speech in full can be read here.