Dublin infrastructural spend creates lopsided economy, CIF claims

Construction industry body highlights disparity in levels of state investment

 CIF director general Tom Parlon: “Without infrastructure, Brexit will have a worse impact”. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

CIF director general Tom Parlon: “Without infrastructure, Brexit will have a worse impact”. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Approximately 30 per cent of the State’s investment in road, rail and other utilities is now concentrated in the Greater Dublin Area, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), which warned that the bias in favour of Dublin was creating a “dangerously” lopsided economy.

When the €1.2 billion Dublin to Shannon pipeline – a project aimed at alleviating pressure on Dublin’s water infrastructure – is included, the proportion of investment going into Dublin-related projects reaches 48 per cent, it said.

The CIF will today launch its regional development roadmap at an event in Tullamore, which will be attended by Minister for Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys.

The report notes that in the wake of Brexit it is vital that rural infrastructure, particularly connectivity to the State’s ports, is improved to safeguard agri-food exports, which are most exposed to the UK decision to exit the EU.

Ireland has a huge amount to offer both indigenous business and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” CIF director general Tom Parlon said.

“We have been very successful in attracting business across Ireland in recent years from tourism along the Wild Atlantic Way and Med-Tech clusters in Galway and the Midlands, to pharma and bio-pharma clusters in Sligo, Cork, Waterford and Dublin, and ICT clusters in Cork and Dublin, the Marine industry, the energy sector, forestry and of course the agri-food sector,” he said.

World-class sectors However, Mr Parlon warned the contribution of these “world-class” sectors would be diminished without world-class infrastructure.

The National Competitiveness Council, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the unions, employers’ group Ibec, business chambers, the EU Commission and the World Economic Forum, have all identified the need for greater investment in Ireland’s productive infrastructure from roads and rail, to broadband and ports.

“Our population has grown by 30 per cent in a generation and we have not taken this into account in our strategic infrastructure,” Mr Parlon said.

“Without infrastructure, Brexit will have a worse impact, the hard Border will be harder, transporting our exports to markets in continental Europe will be more expensive and difficult, our FDI companies may move investment to better serviced nations and our citizens will continue to suffer from inadequate services,” he said.