Government Stimulus Package Must Extend Outside M50
Aontú Rep for Cork North West Becky Kealy has called on the government to ensure that the benefits of the proposed stimulus package don’t just begin and end with the M50, and that Ireland recovers – not just Dublin.
Becky Kealy: “For Cork and my own constituency, the stimulus package needs to focus on equally address creating jobs, supporting households, and bolstering SMEs. The knock on effect from the loss of jobs, the closure of businesses, the loss of income, and the struggling of households has left many areas across the country – particularly my own constituency – crying out for much-needed support from the government, to stave off the darker days of the Recession returning.”
“In terms of jobs, what we need to see particularly for areas like Cork is significant financial supports and incentives to allow for remote working and building of IT hubs. Remote working will stop the population exodus and brain drain to Dublin, and also bolster local businesses as people stay in the county. Additionally, the government needs to support the likes of Shannon Airport, and invest in broadband and infrastructure to allow Cork to compete for jobs with Dublin and in turn boosting local businesses in the county. To prevent further devastation and job losses in the Tourism sector, the government should issue vouchers for “Staycations” which will be a vital source of income for our Tourism sector and local businesses.”
“There has not been sufficient focus on supporting households and families throughout the crisis. Families have faced steep losses of income, fears over job losses and the return of children to schools. What the government needs to do, is ensure that families are not faced with a massive tax bill at the year’s end on pandemic supports they may have accessed. Then in terms of additional supports, the government should be making funding and grants available for families to purchase masks, hand sanitizers etc to protect their families. There also needs to be funding available for struggling households to keep food on the table and bills paid when the going gets tough. The pandemic has hit families and households hardest by inhibiting their ability to pay the bills and care for their loved ones – the government must ensure funding to make sure they are not choosing between their own health and keeping a roof over their head.”
“Another core element of any government stimulus package must be support for key sectors of the economy. SMEs, childcare providers, pubs, and farmers have been devastated by the lockdown. What I want to see is cash grants and funding provided that do not further indebt these affected areas, and rather focuses on protecting businesses and jobs. Many of these businesses have accumulated mountains of debt as their incomes have stopped, the government needs to give tax relief and interest-free funding to these vital sectors – else they will fall, and our economy – both local and national will be devastated.”