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Engineers Ireland calls for increased capital investment

31 Jul 17 Engineers Ireland has called on the Irish government to incorporate a sustained increase in capital investment in the next budget.

Dr Kieran Feighan
Dr Kieran Feighan

It has lodged a series of recommendations with the Department of Finance for Budget 2018. The recommendations also include a list priority projects to support sustainable economic growth.

The organisation’s top five priorities for the budget and public reform are:

  • a steady and sustainable increase capital investment, targeting a level of 4% GDP by 2027 as part of the forthcoming 10-year capital plan;
  • reformation infrastructure policy, planning and delivery, including funding for a single infrastructure unit;
  • integration and implementation of existing plans, including the National Planning Framework, National Mitigation Plan, Rebuilding Ireland, and Irish Water Business Plan;
  • investment in all-island connectivity and regional development, including major public transport, the M20 Cork to Limerick, the A5 Aughnacloy to Derry, and digital connectivity;
  • provision for a world-class education and training system for all to overcome the shortage of engineers and other skilled professionals.

Representatives of the organisation will be discussing the details of its proposals with politicians and other policy makers in advance of the budget.

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Engineers Ireland president Dr Kieran Feighan said: “The welcome economic recovery is placing major demands on our infrastructure and services – bottlenecks are emerging in many sectors. We are also heading into a ‘perfect storm’ of demographic pressures: the need for climate action, rapid technological change, and political uncertainty. Future investment decisions must be driven by evidenced-based solutions to these challenges and Engineers Ireland is committed to bringing the expertise of the engineering profession to the budgetary process.”

Director general Caroline Spillane added: “Government has made substantial progress in identifying solutions to some very complex problems, such as in broadband, housing, water and climate action. However, capital investment must continue to increase to ensure the implementation of these and other necessary plans. Capital projects should be addressed as part of an integrated and long-term vision, exploring innovative funding and financing mechanisms, and streamlining project delivery. This will require a fundamental change in the way we think about infrastructure and, to this end, Engineers Ireland recommends the establishment of a single infrastructure unit tasked with coordinating infrastructure policy.”

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