Published: Wed, 24 February 2016
“Ireland’s economic achievements to date were hard won through the sacrifices of the Irish people under the responsible stewardship of our Fine Gael-led government. That is why Ireland was transformed from an almost bankrupt state to becoming the fastest growing economy in Europe in 2015 with GDP at just under 7 percent,” Seán Kelly MEP, leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, said today.
“The Irish food and drink sector recorded its sixth consecutive year of export growth in 2015 – reaching €10.8 billion. That’s a growth of over 51pc or €3.6 billion since 2009.
“Food and drink manufacturing is the most important indigenous industry in Ireland employing over 50,000 people directly and 180,000 indirectly through farming and support industries. We want to continue to support all sectors of our economy,” Mr Kelly continued.
“8.2 million tourists are expected to visit Ireland in 2016, boosting the economy by €4.4 billion. Ireland already celebrated a record-breaking year in 2015 with 7.9 million tourists from North America, mainland Europe, Australia and developing markets – an 11 percent increase on the previous year, generating revenue of almost €4.2 billion.
“Over the last five years, 138,000 additional jobs have been created. Unemployment is now 8.6pc, the lowest it has been for seven years, down from a high of more than 15pc in 2012 and below the Eurozone average of 10.5pc.
“If Fine Gael returns to government to continue their work, Ireland’s upwards jobs and growth trend will continue. The Fine Gael party is committed to creating 200,000 extra jobs by 2020 supported by a €4 billion jobs fund; abolishing the USC and reforming the welfare system to make sure work always pays. With more people working and paying taxes we will be able to recruit 10,000 extra nurses, teachers and Gardaí in our public sector.
“With a proven track record for delivering results, as evidenced by the clear economic progress Ireland has made to date, a vote for Fine Gael on Friday is a vote for continued stability, more jobs and growth,” MEP Kelly added.