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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Labour)
Tuesday 9 May 2017


“That Dáil Éireann:

is confident that capital investment can provide both social benefits as well as economic
growth, rather than presenting a false choice in relation to such investment;

together with the International Monetary Fund, the Irish Congress Trade Unions and the Irish
Business and Employers Confederation believes that, in order to tackle infrastructural
bottlenecks, make up for historical underinvestment, deal with the rapid growth within the
domestic economy, deal with a growing and ageing population, as well as tackle the particular
challenges posed by Brexit, much greater capital investment is required than the €2.65 billion
envisaged in the Capital Plan;

notes that the Irish national debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio continues to fall at a
rapid pace, due to economic growth and continued achievement of budgetary targets, the costs
of servicing the national debt have consistently been declining and the banking system poses no
systemic threat to the economy;

is concerned that the Government’s debt-to-GDP target of 45 per cent, significantly below the
Stability and Growth Pact target of 60 per cent, and its commitment to establishing a €1 billion
per year rainy-day fund from 2019 are unnecessary obstacles to tackling our significant public
investment deficit;

further notes that the State’s long established rainy-day fund, the Irish Strategic Investment
Fund, has a discretionary portfolio of €8.1 billion and a directed portfolio valued at €12.6
billion, consisting of State shareholdings in Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and Bank of Ireland that
were paid for out of the National Pension Reserve Fund;

believes that the directed portfolio, as it grows, should be made available for commercial
investment in projects of national significance and commercial potential in the public sector
and asserts, in particular, that the proceeds of a sale of bank shares should be used for
additional capital investment;

further asserts that the European Union (EU) Stability and Growth Pact and fiscal rules
currently prevent appropriate levels of investment and should be amended in order to facilitate
a much needed increase in capital spending;

notes, with approval, efforts currently underway to achieve these reforms and calls on Irish
political parties to advance this agenda through their EU political groups and also on the
Government to vigorously pursue the issue at the European Council;

in the circumstances believes that, in advance of such changes to the fiscal rules, the sale of
shareholdings in AIB and Bank of Ireland should not proceed; and

calls on the Government to postpone the sale of AIB shares until the fiscal rules are changed to
permit enhanced capital spending, rather than remit the moneys to the Exchequer simply to pay
down debt.” — Brendan Howlin, Joan Burton, Alan Kelly, Jan O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose,
Brendan Ryan, Sean Sherlock.