THE delays in starting important road projects in Cork, such as the Macroom bypass are, according to a construction expert, hampering the development in the county.
The Cork branch of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) recently held a discussion on the future of the construction sector in the Cork region, where leading experts presented their views on the work of the Federation.
‘The lack of commencements dates for critical infrastructural projects in the region such as, the Macroom bypass, the Dunkettle Interchange, the N28 (road to Ringaskiddy) as well as the Cork City Flood Defence Scheme is threatening the further development of Cork,’ said Conor O’Connell, regional director of CIF.
A recent EU report noted that Ireland continues to underspend by up to 33% on infrastructural projects. Public sector investment must keep pace with private sector investment and the region badly needs the above transportation projects to commence as soon as possible.
‘The lack of commencement dates and firm commitments in relation to when these projects will commencement is leading to uncertainty for further private sector investment in the region. 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,’ said Mr O’Connell.
‘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,’ he said.
‘We want the political parties to commit now to giving any Minister appointed in this area responsibility for investment in infrastructure with a focus on regional development,’ he added.
‘This Minister must ensure that 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.’
Mr O’Connell said that that to support this, it is vital that commencement dates and project timescales are given for projects like the Macroom bypass, N28 Ringaskiddy Road and Bandon and Midleton flood defecne schemes within the Public Capital Prorgramme.
He made the comments before the announcement of the go-ahead for the Bandon flood scheme recently.
‘Constructing the M20 would be the greatest signal that any Government could give that it is serious about creating a real economic engine that can act as a counter balance to the over congested Dublin region,’ the CIF boss said.