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Irish economy performing better than even most optimistic forecasts – Burke

Pandemic supports provide platform for growth and job creation

9th December 2021 - Colm Burke TD

Record levels of Government pandemic supports to businesses and workers have enabled the economy to perform better than even the most optimistic forecasts, a Fine Gael TD has said.

The latest CSO Labour Force Survey shows employment has increased 6.4% on 2019, while modified domestic demand is up 3% on pre-pandemic levels.

Deputy Colm Burke said, “Despite the strong headwinds, the most recent Government revenue figures indicate the Irish economy continues to grow and create jobs.

“The news on the employment front is particularly encouraging. Despite the pandemic, CSO figures show the rate of employment has increased over the last two years.

“Comparing Q3 2021 with Q3 2019, we see an increase of 147,800 people in employment. The employment rate for those aged 15-64 was 72.2% in Q3 2021, compared to 69.5% in Q3 2019.

“Furthermore, the numbers on the PUP have now reduced to 53,000. This is almost a 90% decrease from 481,000 PUP recipients in February, the 2021 peak.

“In addition, many jobs have been supported by Government employer and business supports. Job announcements across many sectors have also been at a high level throughout 2021.

“When we look at how we’re performing in the round as a country, we see Ireland ranking very high internationally. According to the 2020 UN Human Development Index, Ireland ranks second in the world for quality of life based on health, education and income.

“Our strong performance is also evidenced in our economic growth. According to the Quarterly National Accounts, for the third quarter of 2021, modified domestic demand increased by 1.5% quarter-on-quarter. It now stands at more than 3% above the pre-pandemic level in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Our strong results across these areas over the past two years indicate the Government’s response, instigated by Fine Gael in the Spring of 2020, to the pandemic has worked. We have minimised scarring and paved the way for a sustained and stable recovery.

“The capacity of the Irish Government to respond to the economic shocks created by Covid highlights the importance of a strong and stable economy. Ten years ago, Ireland was in the land of bailouts and handouts. The troika was in town and the country’s finances were being run from a few suites in the Merrion Hotel.

“Over the past decade, Fine Gael in Government and several Fine Gael Ministers for Finance have been central to a remarkable turnaround in economic circumstances. Slowly but surely the economy was returned to robust health and growth.

“The Government has been able to respond to the pandemic with dramatic increases in spending. This is only because the economy was strong when the pandemic began.

“Fine Gael will always be the party that stands by the State, and protects its people, whether it’s through an economic crash, Brexit or now Covid,” Deputy Burke concluded.

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