The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Paschal Donohoe, attended a meeting of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) at the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), to discuss the current and future pipeline of the Capital Works Programme.
According to the President of the CECA Mr Pat Lucey, the measures announced under the Public Capital Programme in September have the potential to make a very positive impact in the construction industry, and therefore the Irish economy more broadly, in terms of the quality of infrastructure available to meet the demands of a growing population and the needs of Foreign Direct Investment businesses.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD said: “In the years after the economic crash, investment in our critical infrastructure took a back seat. This resulted in a reduction in investment in land transport from going from 1.64% in 2008 to 0.52% in 2013, putting funding levels at their lowest since the mid 1970s. Since then, the Fine Gael/Labour Government has resurrected the economy, which has resulted in 135,000 additional people going back at work and growth levels surpassing expectation. We are now planning for the future so we can ensure that the improvements we have made are sustained and our objectives for the years ahead can be met. From my Department’s perspective, this means a €10 billion investment programme, which will protect the transport assets we already have, maintain and improve our road network and allow us to address rising levels of congestion which have come about due to increased economic activity. To secure our future, we have to make the right choices with the funds that are available to us. Investing in our infrastructure future with the aim of creating an additional 45,000 jobs by 2021 puts us on the right path.”
President of the CECA Pat Lucey stated “previous Capital Programmes allowed our industry to grow in capacity and capability, and CECA members are well placed to deliver the projects that will come from the Government’s most recent infrastructural announcements”.
“Our sector has taken a big hit in recent years as the downturn has seen capital spending decimated. However the most recent signals are that this trend may soon begin to reverse. The increase in construction jobs and infrastructural projects announced by the Government under the Public Capital Programme is a welcome injection of much needed long term investment in the construction sector. What is absolutely critical now is certainty and clarity from Government in terms of concrete timeframes for projects so that our members, and the industry as a whole, can invest in the right plant machinery and people to complete the projects in a timely and effective manner.”
“Civil engineering contractors have the capacity to respond rapidly to these public projects. The industry is certainly more efficient than ever before in terms of technology, machinery, expertise and project management. In order for projects under the Capital Works Programme to be successful however, the Government and the industry must collaborate in the broadest possible terms and the CECA is committed to working with the public sector to achieve the best possible result for the economy.“