Dublin tops infrastructure spend

IT might have seemed as if nothing moved in construction and infrastructure in Ireland in the year that most will rather forget.

But, as billions of euros were swallowed up in the Irish banks’ black hole, a few key things did get delivered.

Limerick’s 900 metre Shannon tunnel opened during the summer, as part of a €650 million investment, feeding along the way into the Limerick-Galway route, with the €200m, 23km long Gort/Crusheen bypass also opening.

The Cork-Dublin M8 165-mile journey is now also motorway/dual-carriageway all the way (well, it is only 2010, after all), while Limerick’s links to Dublin also improved along the M7.

Hogging the spoils, Dublin got its new, canted drum, architecturally acclaimed new €380m Convention Centre in September, designed by Irish American architect Kevin Roche.

Dublin also got an ‘iconic’ harp-strung bridge by ‘Starchitect’ Santiago Calatrava, named after Samuel Beckett, and it links across the River Liffey from Spencer Dock and the new Gibson Hotel by the O2 to Chartered Land’s three-acre Grand Canal Dock scheme of offices, plus the new 2,000 seat theatre, designed by Daniel Liebeskind.

Dublin airport’s new terminal, T2, opened in recent months, at a cost of €600m.

Dublin’s Lansdowne Stadium re-emerged, going from ugly duckling to swan, in the form of the ethereal 50,000-seat Aviva stadium. But, it cost €410m, half-funded by the Irish taxpayer with the IRFU and FAI now trying to adjust ticket prices to help meet the interest charges on their debt.

In comparison, investment and new projects delivered on projects in Cork remained thin on the ground, with a new €85m renal unit opened at CUH, a €90m private hospital investment by the Sheehan Group in Mahon, and the opening last month of Bord Gáis’ new €400m power plant in Whitegate, Cork harbour.

Promised for Cork in Budget 2011 are the €60m flyovers for the Wilton Road and Bandon Road roundabouts.

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