The Central Bank reported yesterday that we are, on paper at least, richer than at any other time in the history of the State: Households’ net worth hit a record €772bn in the first quarter of 2019.
This is €158,986 per person, or around €444,000 per household. Despite that, many of us have a love-hate relationship with our country, one born more of frustration than antipathy.
One of the drivers of the negative side of that equation is our struggle to deliver large public projects on time, within budget and to a decent standard.
The National Children’s Hospital and rural broadband fiascos are headline scandals in this institutionalised inefficiency. Yesterday’s announcement that the Dunkettle Interchange, in Co Cork, may be delayed, suggests another vital public project is going nowhere fast and will encourage cynicism around how we manage our affairs.
The Dunkettle announcement came on the very day that the Department of Education admitted that structural defects have been identified at 17 schools. This fail rate adds those 17 schools to the 22 school buildings identified last year as being defective.
It seems reasonable to ask, in a country that can obviously afford decent regulatory systems, how this can be? Somebody, somewhere, some organisation somewhere, is playing pass the accountability parcel and we end up with defective buildings, and delays in the provision of hospitals, broadband, and transport infrastructure.