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THE removal of a red-tape barrier to vital investment in public infrastructure will help deliver major projects, Junior Minister Brian Hayes (right) has said.

He was referring to easing insurance restrictions on the award of public works contracts, which are estimated to be worth in the region of €2.25bn a year.

"We simply can't have a situation where red tape is blocking much-needed investment," said Mr Hayes, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW).

He described the reduction in performance bond levels as a sensible and pragmatic reform.

"It reflects the need to bring stability to a construction sector that has seen its share of economic activity plummet from an unsustainable peak of 20pc of GDP to a moribund 6pc."