Saturday, 22nd September 2018
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The Construction Industry Federation has welcomed the €115 billion investment in infrastructure announced by Government last week as a ‘potential gamechanger’ for the southern region. The announcement was made as part of the government’s ten-year public capital programme and National Planning Framework.

Regional CIF Director, Conor O'Connell stated that; "This announcement could represent a game-changer for the southern region and for the Irish economy. Cities like Cork, Limerick and Waterford and our regional towns can be developed into a dynamic regional economy in the south that can counter-balance the irish economy’s overdependence on the greater Dublin area. The construction industry in the region has significant capacity to deliver the essential housing, infrastructure and specialist buildings underpinning the ambition outlined in the National Planning Framework.

The €115billion outlined today will give construction companies in the region the confidence to invest in their businesses again and we expect to see significant increases in activity across all our sectors including civil engineering, main contracting and obviously housebuilding. It's worth noting that over 170,000 workers left the Irish construction sector between 2007 and 2013 and our challenge is to recruit many of those who left back into the industry as well as attracting those working abroad back home. Over the last three years the industry has been recruiting up to 1,000 extra workers a month and the pace of that recruitment will continue as we prepare for these significant infrastructural projects to commence. For the first time in many years those considering re-entering the industry or joining the industry can see a clear pipeline of work and projects over the next ten years. We, as an industry, and the Government will have to redouble their efforts to attract the thousands of workers required to fuel activity up to 2040."

O’Connell continued; "The government has listened to the CIF and other organisations requesting that they change the way infrastructure is delivered in Ireland. Linking the National Planning Framework to ten year investment programmes in the Public Capital programme mirrors global best practice identified by the CIF in numerous submission. The investment will yield significant economic benefits throughout Ireland and projects such as the M20 will ensure greater access to Ireland’s regions and enhance regional connectivity. The commitment to invest in infrastructure will of course be welcome news for the construction sector throughout the region as the industry returns to normal levels of output. Currently the industry accounts for approximately 7% of GNP well below the 15% level that is considered sustainable for a growing economy as Ireland’s.

"The National Planning Framework illustrates the enormous potential in regional Ireland for greater economic growth and a more balanced society. The realisation at public policy level that investment in regional growth centres is essential is another positive step."

"The southern region will see a significant upturn in construction activity over the coming years and rapid population growth in Cork and other urban centres in the region looks set to continue. Some of these projects such as the Dunkettle Interchange and the N28 are projects which actively promote a more sustainable form of residential development as these projects facilitate the relocation of the Port of Cork from the City Centre to Ringaskiddy thereby releasing lands for residential development along existing commuter rail lines and other vital urban infrastructure."

"In the South East projects such as the new bridge across to the North Docks in Waterford will facilitate the proposals for a major redevelopment by Saudi Arabian company Fawaz Alhokair Group. This is a perfect example of how investment by the public sector facilitates private sector investment."

Conor O’Connell concluded;

"Most important now is implementation and its vital that the Construction Sector Group is empowered to ensure these investment plans are not stymied by the short-term thinking that has scuppered national strategies in the past."

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