The Government needs to take advantage of the low cost of borrowing for capital projects to increase spending and stimulate economic recovery, the new President of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) has said.
Conor McCarthy, a director of consulting engineering firm Jennings O’Donovan, said the Government needs to increase and not reduce spending on major infrastructural projects, in the face of any recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is a real and genuine worry among the consulting engineering sector that Government will scale back on investments in infrastructure projects due to the potential impact of the coming recession. I believe the ACEI needs to be advocating for a directly opposite approach to this.
“The cost of borrowing for capital projects is lower than ever. I will be advocating for an increase in the level of spending in public capital investment and use the aftermath of this public health crisis as an opportunity to stimulate economic recovery.”
Mr McCarthy said that the underlying challenges that existed before the crisis still remain and the population is still projected to grow by an additional one million people by the year 2040.
“Significant investment is still needed in housing, healthcare, education, transport, utilities including water and wastewater, in renewable energy and in infrastructure.
Mr McCarthy also said that regional imbalance across our country remains a serious challenge. “We are more reliant on our capital city, Dublin, than any other country in the EU."
"Addressing years of under-investment particularly in digital and transport infrastructure and in third level education in the regions and along the Atlantic Economic Corridor is essential to overturn this imbalance to support the longer-term development of the regions and promote balanced regional growth.