Thursday 25 May 2017

Varadkar must guarantee value for public money

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar's declaration that he would like to see work on at "at least one" major rail or light-rail project begin soon was an implicit acknowledgement that, in our new straitened circumstances, we can no longer afford to spend enormous amounts of money on infrastructural projects of dubious value. Which is no bad thing.

During the Celtic Tiger era, when the Government was spending money on infrastructure as if it were going out of fashion, it was difficult to resist the suspicion that many of the major projects were politically rather than economically motivated.

Mr Varadkar is still holding out hope for one of either the DART Underground, Metro North or the Luas line from Dublin city centre to Broombridge going ahead. If they do then it is vital that they are first subjected to rigorous cost-benefit analysis. The results of such analysis should be made public before any final decision is made.

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