Brexit will create huge insecurity in the Irish economy. Britain under the Tories will follow Trump’s example and cut taxes on global corporations. The economic model of turning Ireland into a tax haven could run aground.
We need a new job-creation strategy. We can have efficient, high-quality public enterprises, provided that workers, rather than bureaucrats, have more control.
In addition to the extra funds raised by the redistribution of wealth, there are three other key funds available for investment:
- The Irish Strategic Investment Fund: There is currently more than a billion euro in this fund, but so far it has been mainly used to offer cheap credit to private companies. Its record on job creation is poor. This fund should be transformed into a Public Investment and Job Creation Fund. It should lead the way into new areas that redirect the Irish economy through public investment.
- NAMA: This is projected to produce a surplus of another €3 billion by 2020. But it has sold off property at bargain basement prices and is paying out significant sums to developers who helped bankrupt the country. NAMA land and property must be used to spearhead a major public house-building programme that will give jobs to thousands of building workers.
- The Apple billions: Instead of paying expensive lawyers to fight for Apple, we should take the €14 billion that Apple owes and use it for strategic investment.
To target public investment, People Before Profit advocate the establishment of key, strategic, state-run companies in the following areas.
- Banking: Private ownership of Irish banks has failed. With public banking, credit would be more accessible for projects that better society. Public banking would stop bankers running away with tax-free profits.
- Construction: We could build 20,000 new units next year via a state-run construction company. This would increase supply by 100,000 houses over five years. New construction projects are also needed to retrofit homes, to build up our water infrastructure and to develop heathcare, educational and childcare facilities.
- Oil and gas exploration: People Before Profit want to make Ireland carbon neutral by 2030. No further licences should be issued for oil and gas. We want to follow the Norwegian model and take our natural resources into public ownership. These would then be used to develop a world-leading green energy sector.
- Pharmaceuticals: The Irish state currently gives around €700 million to companies in order to do research and development (R&D). People Before Profit would begin to redirect that money into a state-run pharmaceutical industry dedicated to producing generic drugs that could be sold below the cost of branded alternatives.
- Agriculture: People Before Profit want a new deal for the agricultural sector. Farmers should not be ripped off by big processors and supermarket chains. We would impose a levy on the major supermarkets to be redistributed to small and medium-sized enterprises who prioritise nutritious food and environmental protection. We should also take the major agri-business food processors into public ownership to help change the direction of agriculture for an era of climate change.