Friday 20 April 2018

And now it's back to the usual political auction of who can spend the most

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton launching the Government's Capital Investment Plan at Heuston Station, Dublin, this week Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton launching the Government's Capital Investment Plan at Heuston Station, Dublin, this week Photo: Mark Condren
Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

Size matters; especially when it comes to public infrastructure. Across the water, they have just announced a £38bn (€51bn) programme to electrify rail lines through the midlands of England and across the Pennines. That's about the same as the entire six-year capital programme announced by the Government this week.

There are what the experts call "economies of scale" in things like roads, railways and ports. A small country has to be extra-careful about where it chooses to invest public capital and extra-efficient about getting value for the money.

Sad to say, this has not been the case in the past. Reactions to the new €40bn programme largely reflect doubts based on previous experience.

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