Troubling timescales - National development plan

THE announcement of a €27bn capital plan to drive the development of infrastruce yesterday is very welcome, even if some of the timescales mentioned suggest we are trying to hold an All-Ireland final on Mars now water has been found there, rather than build a few miles of railway in Dublin.

There are suggestions that this element of the project — a new rapid transit system from Dublin city centre to Dublin Airport and Swords — might take a decade to build, but when our traditions of prevarication, objection, and nimbyism get into full swing that deadline, like that for the National Children’s Hospital, may, too, become ever more remote.

There is, too, the niggling thought that this announcement is as much to do with electioneering as it has to do with development. Nevertheless, the commitment to spend €27bn over the next six years is a spectacular one for a Government that faced national bankruptcy when it took office less than five years ago.

Every department would have liked a greater allocation, but Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has insisted that any project must be sustainable if it is to get increased funding, and this seems a wise restriction. The plan will be extended if circumstances allow and it must be hoped that any revised plan will include provision for a motorway between Cork and Limerick, a piece of infrastructure needed to ensure that the recovery reaches all regions of the country.


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