Paul Sweeney: Congress has warned that a continuation of the current austerity programme could literally destroy the Irish economy and kill off any prospects of recovery for many, many years.
Austerity had delivered nothing but higher unemployment and a bigger deficit.
Congress said that “We have tried austerity and it just hasn't worked - it has just made matters worse. There have been three deflationary budgets that have taken €14.5 billion out of the economy and the result is clear: unemployment has almost trebled, the deficit is actually bigger than when we started and the cost of borrowing is at record levels".
This is clearly failure.
The period of adjustment must to be extended. The target of reducing the deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014 is arbitrary and artificial. There was no impediment to extending the adjustment period, either at a national or an EU level.
The focus should be on jobs and growth and the Congress submission contained a number of innovative proposals in that regard.
The full document can be downloaded here and the executive summary here.