Wednesday 21 February 2018

CIF warns on funding for big projects

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation
Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

The Government must increase the capital spending programme in order to fast-track essential transport, water and flood defence projects, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has warned.

According to the building lobby group, much of the Government's €27bn capital investment plan is already allocated to major projects, and there is almost no slack in the system for any additional projects that have to be tackled. That means that major projects could be delayed for the foreseeable future, it warns.

About €10bn of the plan is earmarked for transport development, but 60pc of that has already been allocated. That leaves a relatively small €4bn for projects that may prove essential.

The CIF commissioned a report from Construction Information Services to assess the top 100 infrastructure projects in transport, water treatment and flood defences.

According to CIF boss Tom Parlon, the analysis shows "how capital investment has been ravaged by the recession".

"On average, these major projects have been delayed for three to four years. The projects range from national infrastructure like Dublin Airport to waterworks and roadwork improvements. Other projects analysed are essential flood defences for towns along the Shannon that should begin immediately.

"We believe that a number of these essential projects are at risk of being delayed indefinitely.

"The negative impacts on job creation, balanced regional development and the attraction of FDI to Cork, Limerick and Waterford will transform the two-tier recovery into a permanent two-tier economy," he said.

Mr Parlon went on to claim that the relatively low level of capital investment in Ireland - the country is ranked 23rd out of the 25 members of the OECD for infrastructure spending - could also exacerbate the housing crisis.

"There is a risk that [new] houses will not be adequately serviced by road, rail, water and broadband. We risk creating unsustainable ghost communities in the regions, but reallocating investment from capital projects like transport will only exacerbate this issue," he claimed.

Among the major projects included in the Government plan is the €2.4bn Metro North and Dublin Airport's second runway.

Irish Independent

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