Capital investment in Ireland's critical infrastructure is
key against backdrop of Ireland's strong fiscal position and in
advance of the British Government triggering formal Brexit talks by
March 2017, says Garret Farrelly, Head of Matheson's Energy and
Irish Government must seize the opportunity now to ensure that
Ireland is the country of choice for businesses in Europe, says
Government must follow through on commitment to spend up to
€47 billion on key infrastructure in its existing capital
investment plan says partner Rhona Henry, Head of Matheson's
Construction and Engineering Group.
Key transport projects include Metro North, the DART
underground, the LUAS cross city project as well as motorways
connecting Cork and Limerick, Dublin and County Donegal and other
parts of the Northwest.
Leading Irish law firm, Matheson has welcomed Minister
Donohoe's decision to bring forward the mid-term review of the
Government's Capital Plan to early 2017. The Capital Plan,
published in 2015, set out a six-year framework for infrastructural
investment in Ireland out to 2021.
Mr Garret Farrelly, Head of Matheson's Energy and
Infrastructure Group, said:
"We welcome the decision by Minister Donohoe to review the
Capital Plan in early 2017.
"Given Ireland's strong fiscal position and in advance
of the British Government triggering formal Brexit talks by March
2017, it is vital for the Irish Government to seize the opportunity
to ensure that Ireland is the country of choice for businesses in
Europe. An early review of our capital plan in achieving this
objective is timely.
"Investment in infrastructure is a key driver of growth and
employment in our economy and Government must follow through on the
commitment to spend up to €47 billion between 2016 and 2021 on
key infrastructure, pursuant to its capital investment plan
entitled 'Building on Recovery'.
"If the IDA is to continue to attract international
investment in Ireland, the Government must prioritise investment in
the transport sector, including key transport projects such as
Metro North, which will need to deliver a fast, reliable and
competitive rail link between Dublin city centre and the airport;
the DART underground; the LUAS Cross City project; as well as
motorways connecting Cork and Limerick, Dublin and County Donegal
and other parts of the Northwest.
"The Government must also ensure that broadband is rolled
out as soon as possible to rural Ireland in line with its
commitments under the National Broadband Project. We welcome the
announcement that €15 million will be allocated to progressing
the National Broadband Plan. Access to a reliable and economical
water supply is another area that the Government should focus on
when investment decisions for locating manufacturing businesses in
Ireland are made.
"We believe that these measures will facilitate decreases
in costs for businesses in Ireland and guarantee the supply of
vital services to them. One way of delivering these measures is
through the Government's public-private partnership
programme," noted Rhona Henry, Head of Matheson's
Construction and Engineering Group. "At a policy level,
mechanisms for raising money for funding utilities also need to be
considered by the Government," she said.
Commenting on the decision, Farrelly emphasised that
"Social acceptability is one of the principal new barriers to
both public and private infrastructure development. A rebalancing
of the existing position is required urgently if critical public
infrastructure is to be delivered on time at this extremely
important juncture. The legitimate interests of communities need to
be taken on board through consultation and community gain-sharing
mechanisms. In return, regulatory and permit processes need to be
refined and streamlined to ensure that infrastructure strategic to
the national economic interest secures the necessary permits within
an acceptable timeframe; and that public and private resources are
not expended in avoidable or lengthy legal challenges."
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