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Builders attack spending slump

THE Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has criticised the emerging gap between planned and actual spending on public infrastructure this year.

It came as the Department of Finance reported a year-on-year decline in the Exchequer deficit.

Exchequer returns for January and February show a deficit of just under €1.95bn,

Tom Parlon (right), director general of the CIF, said capital spending was already over 11pc, or nearly €50m, behind target.

"The Public Capital Investment Programme has borne a disproportionate burden of Ireland's fiscal adjustment so the failure to meet the very slimmed-down targets for 2011 is very serious for employment in the industry," he said.