By Donal O’Cofaigh, Fermanagh Socialist Party
The news that the cost of hosting the G8 has doubled to £80 million is impossible to comprehend at at a time when cuts to public expenditure are directly causing the closure of local schools, newly built hospital wards remain closed for want of investment despite the fact that those suffering from illness are forced to wait ever longer for the care they need and working families are suffering from job losses, benefits cuts and pay freezes.
To gain a sense of the significance of this colossal waste of public resources, we should note that Invest NI state that it costs them approximately £22,500 for every extra job they create. That would indicate a loss of more than 3,500 jobs which could have been created, not counting the economic multiplier employment that would have resulted. All this at a time when Fermanagh’s unemployment rate has trebled and a generation of youth have been forced to emigrate to find work elsewhere.
Questions have to be asked about the local politicians who became intoxicated on the whiff of celebrity and power, and who were so deluded that they thought that the council chamber would host the world’s leaders – where do they stand now on this ballooning cost?