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Noonan gaffe as he knocks FG job vision

FINE Gael's finance spokesman Michael Noonan has been accused of "publicly rubbishing" his own party's job strategy.

The claim was made after Mr Noonan questioned Fine Gael's commitment to create more than 100,000 jobs.

In Fine Gael's NewEra document, the party promised to create 105,000 jobs.

Mr Noonan said: "Simon Coveney was the author of that particular policy document and, if you look at it, the figure of 100,000 jobs doesn't appear anywhere in it. That seems to be some kind of a public relations add-on that enthusiastic people attached to it."

However, Mr Coveney later defended the figure, saying it had been arrived at following consultation with Fine Gael economists and the construction industry.



FANFARE

Mr Noonan was appointed finance spokesman only two weeks ago by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

He filled the position formerly occupied by Richard Bruton, who was sacked over a failed leadership heave.

Fianna Fail's labour affairs minister Dara Calleary said Mr Noonan had "publicly rubbished" his own party's strategy.

"This is despite the fact that the party has launched the policy document with great fanfare no less than three times with party leader Enda Kenny repeatedly endorsing it," Mr Calleary said. However, Mr Noonan endorsed NewEra's objective of setting up five new semi-state companies to control water, energy, broadband and gas services.

He said if the document was looked at as a scheme for investing in the essential infrastructure, rather than a job creation scheme, "you can see where we're coming from".

Mr Kenny had told the Fine Gael national conference in March that 105,000 jobs would be delivered under the plan within Fine Gael's first term.

Speaking on Newstalk's Breakfast Show, Mr Noonan said Fine Gael was in the process of reviewing all its policies "as we go along". He added: "I'm only in the job a week yet."

Mr Noonan had been discussing the findings of the Economic and Social Research Institute report on jobs.

The Fine Gael finance spokesman said previously that his party would be forced to stick with many of the Government's controversial economic policies if it gets into power.

Mr Noonan admitted a lot of the Government's financial policies were irreversible.

comurphy@herald.ie


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