He said: “Our canvassers are reporting that jobs and the economy are the big concerns on the doorsteps, but that is not being reflected in the media debate.
“The SDLP has tabled strong proposals for boosting our economy but the other parties are not debating them or any other proposals. In fact, they are ignoring the whole area of the economy. It seems sectarian voting pacts make easier headlines,” he said.
“No matter what the outcome of this election there are massive cuts coming down the line starting with the public sector. Obsessions with tribal head-counting will not help much if the Tories take the axe to front-line services with or without the help of local allies.
“Our economy is highly dependent on the public sector so we are particularly vulnerable.
“We need representation at Westminster which understands the threat to jobs and knows how to fight it,” said Mr O’Loan.
“And we need to agree credible strategies at Executive level for protecting the jobs we have and creating new ones, not in two or three years when the international economy picks up, but right now.
“There is a strong consensus among local economists about what needs to be done to kickstart the local economy. All we are lacking is a matching political consensus to go and do it,” he said.