GOVERNMENT attempts to implement cutbacks in line with European Commission demands will result in permanent damage to the fabric of society, ICTU leader David Begg told a conference of economists at the weekend.
In a keynote address to the TASC/Foundation for European Progressive Studies conference on “towards recovery” which concluded on Saturday in Croke Park.
Mr Begg said he did “not subscribe to the accepted orthodoxy the budget deficit must be reduced to 3% by 2014” as demanded by the European Commission.
The ICTU general secretary said the 2014 deadline was “arbitrary”, he added “more importantly they cannot be attained without doing permanent damage to our economy and the fabric of our society”.
Instead Mr Begg called for the Government to implement a jobs intensive investment programme indicating that for “every €1 million invested in infrastructure generates between eight and 12 jobs”.
Roger Cole, chairman of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, tackled Mr Begg on the failure of the trade union movement to mobilise in street demonstrations. Mr Begg said he was not in the business of creating “mayhem”.
Unite trade union economic adviser Michael Taft outlined the possible make-up of an investment programme which would utilise the nearly €50 billion which the government maintained in cash and other assets.
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