Tuesday, 11 June 2019
National Development Plan: Motion [Private Members]
By 2040, it is anticipated that Ireland will approach the pre-Famine population level of 8 million. In the intervening period, it is estimated that an additional 660,000 employment opportunities will be required. It is vital that we have a strategic approach to public capital investment. The national development plan has committed to a capital spend of €116 billion. This all sounds great on paper but I have big concerns about the plans of the Government and the reality that it will deliver. Since the publication of Project Ireland 2040, there have been significant cost overruns on three projects, namely, the national broadband plan, the national children's hospital and the new metro plan. It is scary that the Government will spend €10 billion on these three projects alone. I doubt the credibility of the national development plan.
The Government must realise the impact of spending €10 billion on three projects which have all suffered cost overruns. These overrun projects have cost the average, hard-working taxpayer in more ways than one. Not only is it disgusting for a taxpayer to see his or her money being spent in a reckless fashion but these taxpayers also have to suffer the knock-on impact on funding that is available for other planned projects. That inevitably impacts on the hard-working taxpayer. Are these overruns the reason we have found out, in the past two weeks, that there is an embargo on home help hours? This embargo is causing major stress for families in west Cork whose elderly loved ones will not get a home help service. It is also a considerable test for the great home help providers in west Cork who are under great pressure to deliver a service.
I would also like to see how west Cork will do in the national development plan. What has the Government planned for us? Will it be anything like the rural regeneration programme under which 43 projects, most of them in west Cork, did not get a brown cent? What are the Government's plans? Will west Cork be excluded again? I am calling on the Government to immediately identify which projects that were planned for in the NDP will be delayed or cancelled as a result of a lack of funding.