The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has backed comments by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD that the savings from the promissory note deal should go towards infrastructure projects to help reduce the number of unemployed.   Speaking during an interview on RTÉ Radio 1’s “News@1” Minister Burton said this spending flexibility should go towards getting people back to work by bringing forward new capital projects. 

During her interview the Minister said, “Right around the country people will be aware that at the moment we’re building quite a lot of new schools, we’re also improving and fixing quite a lot of older school buildings.  But there is an absolute argument to pick up the pace of that because if you have small scale building projects in local regional areas that is the way to get people back to work. Particularly if you make sure that 50% of those jobs go to people on the live register.”

The Minister also referenced Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech saying, “If you have something like a bridge or a road that needs fixing lets spend the money to fix it.”

Reacting to the comments, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “The CIF is in complete agreement with Minister Burton about where this funding should go.  Putting the savings from the promissory note deal towards new infrastructural projects will have a major impact on this country’s economy.

“It will help to significantly reduce the number of people receiving dole payments which will reduce outgoings for the Exchequer.  At the same point the income tax these people will then generate will increase the money being provided to the State coffers.  It would help boost the Government finances on both sides of the balance sheet – reducing spending and increasing income.

“The Minister knows the most effective way to reduce the number of unemployed people in this country is by creating construction work.  Her own Department has recently detailed that one in four of the people on the Live Register are former construction workers, some 109,000 people.  Bringing forward infrastructure activity is the obvious and most direct way to help reduce our social welfare expenditure and to get these people working again.

“The added benefit of this measure is that it will improve the facilities on offer to the people of this country.  It will mean better schools, better hospitals, better roads and more efficient transport networks.  This approach would have many distinct, positive benefits for our country.

“Minister Burton deserves praise for putting this initiative forward publically.  We hope that her Cabinet colleagues will see the many benefits that could be accrued by pursuing this approach,” Mr. Parlon concluded.