Saturday 18 November 2017

Colm McCarthy: Now is not the time to splash out on building

Not only can the State not afford to spend on infrastructure projects, we don't need them

Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

There are certain droning noises in the soundtrack of Ireland's economic policy debate that just never seem to go away. One of the most persistent is the assertion that Ireland labours under a serious deficit in public infrastructure, the solution to which is more spending on civil engineering projects. More capital spending would stimulate the economy too, it is asserted.

There are three objections to this line of argument. The first is that infrastructure provision has improved greatly, while demands on facilities have declined.

The second is that big capital-investment projects do not create any permanent jobs and far fewer temporary ones than you might imagine.

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