Engineers Ireland calls for a sustained increase in capital investment in Budget 2018

Engineers Ireland calls for a sustained increase in capital investment in Budget 2018

27 July 2017 at 14:36

Engineers Ireland has today lodged a series of recommendations with the Department of Finance for Budget 2018. The recommendations (available here: Budget Submission 2018) include calls for a sustained increase in capital investment towards 2027 and list priority projects to support sustainable economic growth.

Engineers Ireland’s top five priorities for the Budget and public reform are:

  1. Steadily and sustainably increase capital investment, targeting a level of 4% GDP by 2027 as part of the forthcoming 10 year Capital Plan;
  2. Reform infrastructure policy, planning and delivery, including funding for a single infrastructure unit;
  3. Ensure integration and implementation of existing plans, including the National Planning Framework, National Mitigation Plan, Rebuilding Ireland, and Irish Water Business Plan;
  4. Invest in all-island connectivity and regional development, including large-scale public transport, the M20 Cork to Limerick, the A5 Aughnacloy to Derry, and digital connectivity;
  5. Provide for a world-class education and training system for all to overcome the shortage of engineers and other skilled professionals.

The Budget 2018 recommendations draw on Engineers Ireland’s recently-published The State of Ireland 2017 report (available here): an annual independent assessment of our infrastructural needs in transport, communications, energy, water supply and wastewater, flood management and water quality, and waste.

Dr Kieran Feighan, President, Engineers Ireland, 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.”

Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland, said: “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.”

Dr Feighan concluded: “Engineers Ireland will be discussing the details of our proposals with Ministers, TDs, Senators, and other policy makers in advance of the Budget.”