Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion

Ms Linda Kane:

We have seen some evidence on the construction issues raised by the Deputy. The Ulster Bank purchasing managers' index has indicated consistent increases, so we are seeing not only higher prices but also longer lead times. Part of that is driven by a very significant increase in demand for those inputs and there is also a global shortage of materials, including steel, certain types of plastics and copper. In Ireland, there is the addition of some Brexit delays and hiccups with the supply chain. Given that ours is such a small economy, we must import quite a bit of that material, which is leading to shortages coming down the track, especially when we must ship across various supply chains.

We also expect that some of the global increases in prices are likely to be temporary and related to Covid-19. We anticipate that these will unwind in the coming months. We will be keeping a close eye on these matters, particularly as there will be much planned construction activity in Ireland over the next couple of years under the Housing for All strategy and various infrastructure projects. We expect to see a very high level of demand for those construction inputs. The council will keep a close on production inputs.