Saturday 22 February 2020

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Cork Independent


Who defends the wider population?

Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 4:40pm

A special court to deal with large scale infrastructure projects needs to be set up, a construction event in Cork city heard yesterday.

The call came from Pat Lucey, President of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), at its Southern Construct as he spoke about delivering infrastructure to drive Ireland’s economy.

Mr Lucey said that in 2009 the CIF started to advocate for an increase in investment in infrastructure to reduce the negative impact of the recession and to return Ireland to a sustainable growth phase.

“Only in 2016, did the Government listen to our calls, and in fairness to Minister Donohoe, with an ambitious €116billion National Development Programme (NDP),” he added.

However, the recent announcement that the Dunkettle Interchange is going back to tender shows how commitments made in the NDP can be frustrated at local level, he said.

He explained to a packed room in the Clayton Hotel Cork City: “The unnecessary, I would say, delay now to retender this project could mean that people won’t see the reduced commuter times and improved road safety, improved access to Port of Cork’s facility in Ringaskiddy, the opening up of new lands for development and increased FDI investment for a decade.”

He commented that over the past ten years, no strategic infrastructural project has been delivered in the region and that it is extraordinary that the state continuously “neglects the obvious infrastructural deficits in the region”.

He urged: “Two things need to change immediately to prevent these issues continuing to disadvantage the regions. On planning, it’s important that people can object when they are affected by development but who defends the benefit to the wider population of an entire region. A specialist court must be established with requisite expertise to make decisions quickly and efficiently on large scale projects.

“On procurement, the CIF has for 15 years advocated changes to the public sector procurement system that would reduce the likelihood of delays. Delays mainly derive from issues at the design stage of projects.

“Changing this system would help prevent disputes, delays and the derailment of major projects.”

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