Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed the government is committed to delivering strong public investment in infrastructure and is reviewing the NDP to underpin this.
Speaking to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) annual conference this morning, Martin said this review of “the NDP will underpin work being undertaken to tackle challenges such as climate change and no doubt will reflect the new challenges we face from this pandemic”.
In preparing Budget 2021, the government is assuming the economy and broader society will have to co-exist with the virus next year and it will establish a recovery fund and publish a national economic plan in November to set out longer term priorities and objectives.
Opening the conference CIF President Pat Lucey called for the government to repurpose the Department of Expenditure and Reform (DPER) for three years to focus on national recovery. CIF wants the department to use its project management skills and its deep knowledge of the industry to set targets, unblock delays and drive wider economic recovery.
Lucey added: “The case for increased public investment accompanied by swifter decision-making is compelling. Building the next normal will require letting go of the way it was always done. We need to become true collaborative partners.
“When it comes to housing and infrastructure we need to get things done.”
Lucey asked ”where we are now with Project Ireland 2040”, noting how the pandemic had reduced dependency on Dublin.
“The regions from Waterford through to Donegal are ready. These areas have been held back by a lack of public infrastructure, much of which should be resolved through Project Ireland 2040. It is important to say this isn’t Dublin versus the regions, Dublin needs to get better before it gets bigger.”
Separately, this afternoon Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, launched the Project Ireland 2040 Annual Report for 2019, along with nine Regional Reports.
McGrath said: “When Budget 2021 is completed, I will launch the review of [NDP]. As part of this review, I will be engaging with the public and with stakeholders in every part of the country. The reports I am launching today will give people the information they need to support them in this public consultation process."
Partnerships Bulletin will provide analysis of recent developments in the Irish market ahead of Budget 2021, which is to take place on 13 October 2020.