The Dunkettle Interchange, the M20, M22, N28 upgrade and the Northern Ring Road are considered critical in supporting sustainable economic development to the south of the country. Most of these are now under threat or facing interminable delays. According to CIF Director, Conor O’Connell, this represents a failure on behalf of the Irish national and local political system to deliver any project outside of the greater Dublin area. He said: “The recent announcement that the Dunkettle Interchange is going back to tender could see a delay of over 10 years in a project that would reduce commuter times, provide ease of access to Port Of Cork’s new facility in Ringaskiddy, facilitate the opening up of new lands for sustainable development initiatives in Cork City centre, attract investment and improve road safety.
“The Dunkettle Interchange would help “Brexit proof” the economy and facilitate residential development in our urban environments. The delay to the Dunkettle Interchange is an example of the continuing delay to many projects in the South West region. Over the last 10 years, no strategic infrastructural project has been delivered in the region that has the fastest growing population and jobs growth outside of the Dublin region; accounting for 20% of GDP. It is extraordinary that the state continuously neglects the obvious infrastructural deficits in the region.
“Two things need to change immediately to prevent these issues continuing to disadvantage the regions: planning and procurement. On planning; it’s important that people can object when they are affected by development but who defends the benefit to the wider population of an entire region. A specialist court must be established with requisite expertise to make decisions quickly and efficiently on large scale projects. On procurement, the CIF has for 15 years advocated changes to the public sector procurement system that would reduce the likelihood of delays. Delays mainly derive from issues at the design stage of projects. Changing this system would help prevent disputes, delays and the derailment of major projects.”
O’Connell is calling on all politicians, representative bodies and local authorities to come together to tackle the inertia in the system on September 4th at a major CIF conference in the Clayton Hotel.
Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine