Tuesday 20 February 2018

'Banished' Burton is key to turning around our fortunes

Far from being overlooked, Joan Burton has the vital task of getting people back to work, says Kevin Rafter

The shafting of Joan Burton caused many tearful moments when Labour Party members gathered last Wednesday evening at the Radisson Hotel in central Dublin. Despite nine years as her party's spokesperson on finance, Burton was the principal loser in an internal power-play, leaving a sour note on a night of celebration.

By common consensus Burton had been banished to the backwater of social protection. But amid the focus on personality, and the winners and losers from the cabinet merry-go-round, little attention was paid to the appointment of a Labour minister to a portfolio pivotal to the country's economic revitalisation.

The crisis in the Exchequer finances and the collapse of a normal banking system brought the IMF and the ECB to Ireland. The two international agencies showed less interest in our other crisis -- unemployment. Ireland will only grow again when jobs are created, and that agenda has to make employment the only attractive option for those on the dole.

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