The decision of Government to reduce spending on vitally important infrastructural development nationally while copper fastening many Dublin projects has seen the National Development Plan revised at the expense of Cork, according to Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer today (Tuesday).
“The Government’s decision to slash €1billion from the capital budget while failing to address the excessive waste in current expenditure will have serious implications for our economic recovery and the possibility of future job creation.
“When it come roads, the volume of traffic in has dramatically increased in the last decade. However, without the proper investment we will fall even more behind our European neighbours in the area of infrastructural development.
“In Cork alone there are many developments, which will require a significant amount of investment if they are to be implemented. It is questionable however, whether these project will now go ahead. As it stand the vital upgrade of the N25 Cork southern ring road looks set to be shelved due to lack of funds.
“Furthermore, the future upgrading of the N28 Cork-Ringaskiddy road, which could actually provide capital to the county, hangs in the balance. A report commissioned recently by the Cork Chamber of Commerce, demonstrated how the road could make a return of up to €135million, employing approximately 800 people during the construction phase, and providing a much-needed boost to further foreign direct investment.
“Cork City Council this year has a budget of less then one million to upgrade and improve our roads, which is nowhere near sufficient. The Government’s attempts to deal with the budget deficit by slashing the public capital programme means that there will be no further economic stimulus for the regions for the foreseeable future.
“What’s more, the Cork Docklands- Eastern Gateway Bridge project is also a major infrastructural development of critical importance to the region but the Government has deferred its funding. Under the National Spatial Strategy, Cork has been designated a gateway city. Economic studies have shown that if the Government invests in the region to the tune of €120 million to €200 million, dividends of up to €680 million can be obtained for the local economy per year.
“I am calling on the Government to see the merit in these projects and to continue the much needed funding for their development and implementation as the development of our infrastructure is a major factor in our future economic recovery. A stimulus plan for Cork was desperately needed to generate jobs and capital for the county. Creating employment has to be at the forefront of any Government economic recovery plan. Sadly for us this is a fact of which the Government remains blissfully unaware.”