The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has called for a new 'Plan for Ireland' which looks to create job and infrastructure benefits.
Following the launch of its election manifesto "Building a Better Ireland", the RIAI said that by prioritising investment in construction and infrastructure, the incoming Government could restore the building sector to its optimum level of €18bn per annum, with 250,000 jobs in direct and indirect employment.
RIAI President Paul Keogh said: "The recession presents a once-off opportunity to get architects and construction working to 'get it right' to redress the infrastructure and environment deficits which affect our quality of life and our economic competiveness into the future.
"The largest building boom in Ireland’s history has left the country with an onerous legacy of social and environmental challenges – not only for today, but for years to come.
"Issues which were sidelined during the recession will come into focus as the economy recovers: how to address deficits in our housing, education, healthcare and community infrastructure; how to respond to the challenge of climate change, not least in retrofitting large sections of our building stock; how to deal with the continuing growth of our towns and cities, and the demographic and social change projected for the coming decades; and, most importantly, what kind of society - and built environment - do we want for our children and our children’s children?"
With the economy projected to return to modest growth in 2011, and with some experts estimating that the population will reach five million in the next decade, the incoming government cannot afford not to plan for the future, Mr Keogh said.