Public building projects 'could create 70,000 jobs'
Seventy thousand jobs could be created if the Government signs off on more public building projects, it was claimed today.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) accepted development was inflated during the boom but said it had now dropped too low given building shortages in areas such as education.
CIF chief Tom Parlon urged the Government to boost its works programme or risk falling below targets for improving the state's infrastructure.
"The CIF's research indicates that if Ireland's construction industry could be maintained at the European average, an additional 70,000 jobs could be supported," Mr Parlon said.
"We know that construction grew too large towards the peak between 2005 and 2007 but it has now fallen well below its optimum level, particularly given that Ireland faces particular infrastructure shortages in areas such as education and is facing fines from the EU because of failures to address environmental requirements."
According to the CIF research less than €60m worth of new public construction projects were awarded over March and April.
It claimed there were no project awards in 28 of the 25 City or County Council areas, including across Cork City and County, Galway City and County and Limerick.
Mr Parlon said the Government is considering its infrastructural priorities and speculated they will focus on energy, broadband, waste management, water services, education, health and public transportation.
"Politicians know better than anybody what is happening in their own constituencies and they also know where the infrastructure bottlenecks lie," Mr Parlon said.
"I urge them to make this a priority and to drive forward a recovery plan that returns people to work in building the country's economic and social capacity."