The development of Cork and the southern region is being held back by the failure to start essential infrastructural projects, according to the Construction Industry Federation.
Among the most essential of these is the long awaited motorway between Cork and Limerick. Analysts suggest the motorway could significantly improve the economic links between the two cities, delivering growth and developing the region as a counterbalance to the rapid growth in Dublin and its surrounds.
However, the project was shelved when it failed to be included in the Government’s €27bn capital plan late last year.
The Cork branch of the CIF will tomorrow host a discussion on the future of the construction sector in the Cork region at the Radisson Hotel in Little Island.
Leading experts from the CIF will present their views on the work of the Federation and how the industry is likely to develop over the coming decade.
Speaking at the launch of the CIF Roadshow, Regional Director Conor O’Connell said: “The lack of commencements dates for critical infrastructural projects in the region such as the Dunkettle Interchange, the Macroom Bypass, the N28 [road to Ringaskiddy] as well as the Cork City Flood Defence Scheme is threatening the further development of Cork.”
A recent EU report noted Ireland continues to underspend by up to 33% on infrastructural projects. According to the CIF, public sector investment must keep pace with private sector investment and the region badly needs the essential transportation projects to commence as soon as possible.
“The lack of commencement dates and firm commitments in relation to when these projects will start is leading to uncertainty for further private sector investment in the region,” said the CIF, in a statement.
“Furthermore, the glaring omission from the Public Capital Programme for the southern region has been the exclusion of the M20 Cork /Limerick Motorway Project from the Public Capital Investment Plan 2016–2021.”
Mr O’Connell said investment in the region’s infrastructure is being neglected and this threatens jobs and growth.
“We are calling for the appointment of a Minister for Infrastructure and Construction in the new Government. We want the political parties to commit to giving any minister appointed in this area responsibility for investment in infrastructure with a focus on regional development.
“This minister must ensure the IDA continues its vital role in attracting investment to the region. A construction skillset on bio-tech and pharmaceutical projects in particular has been built up in Cork and these skills can facilitate expansion in those industries in the region. The IDA must make Cork a priority region for such investments.”
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