In order to create balanced regional development as envisaged by “Project Ireland 2040”, the region needs to attract FDI investment which can only be achieved by addressing the regions infrastructural deficits, e.g. the lack of motorways and rail networks is obvious form the following graphics:
The completion of the Atlantic motorway from Derry right down and across to Waterford is particularly pertinent in our post Brexit environment, note the following graphic. Such a motorway would open up the entire north west region to the rest of the country and beyond, thus offering much needed employment opportunities in the region. The planning for the completion of this motorway needs to start immediately, and clear deliver dates need to be put in established so that the future development of the region can be planned for.
Other projects in the region such as Galway’s proposed N6 City Ring Road will not be approved and constructed any time soon, we therefore need to establish a transport forum for Galway to identify interim measures to deal with Galway’s traffic problems.
The plans to redevelop Galway Port, if successful, has the potential to significantly boost the economic development of the entire western region. It is therefore imperative that this project has the full backing of Government.
Government should back the development of Knock International Airport similar to that of the Shannon Commercial Zone in Shannon Airport where it would have the potential to attract manufacturing operations that would be serviced by a fully functioning international airport. Investment such as this would be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the western region’s economic development.
To meet development needs we need to ensure there is adequate water and wastewater infrastructure in place. Therefore, local authorities should ensure that any lands zoned in their development plans are serviced, or will be serviced, by Irish Water within the lifetime of their development plans.
We need to remove the barriers impacting on the delivery of private sector housing. Currently many first-time home buyers cannot secure mortgages; therefore, the Government must introduce measures to support them, e.g. a shared equity scheme.
Also, Government needs to help in the management of increasing construction costs such as; development contributions, compliance with building regulations, cost of finance, labour and material increases, etc.
Our planning system needs an overhaul; it has become too cumbersome to operate and it lacks clarity. We need our planning system to be clear in its objectives and to deliver planning decisions / appeals in a timely manner. A more clear and efficient planning system will reduce costs, offer a degree of certainty and will benefit applicants, objectors as well as the local economy.
Public Sector Construction Procurement
Despite various European and National guidelines to help ensure SME’s are not excluded from tendering process, many are, due to the excessive prequalification criteria set by some public sector contracting authorities.
Another major factor that excludes SME regional contractors from the tender process is the practice of “Bundling” a number of smaller contracts into to one large bundle. This practice automatically excludes SME regional contractors from the tendering process.
Below cost tendering continues to be a blight on our industry which serves neither the client, the contractor or anyone in the supply chain. Contracting Authorities need to be given the tools to reject below cost tenders without the fear of being successfully challenged for doing so.
Our planning system needs a total overhaul. We need a planning system that is clear in its objectives, is cost effective to operate and delivers decisions in a timely manner.