Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Future Ireland Fund and Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund Bill 2024: Report and Final Stages


3:40 pm

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I made the point that there may be a slightly lower return from domestic investment than from international investment. The NTMA will feel it has to get the most competitive returns available, even though there is an opportunity cost lost. Amendment No. 2 does not direct it to invest in the domestic economic development or sectors such as housing, infrastructure, energy and water. It states that the fund should "have regard to the promotion of", which, in my view, would give it additional flexibility whereby even though there may be a reduced yield, it would be important in terms of the opportunity lost. This is not a zero-sum game. We can put away this money and we will have it in the future to pay for the cost of ageing from 2041 onwards. We can also deal with some of those costs through other measures, such as PRSI, some of which the Government has done, which means that the issue with the costs of the deficit in the Social Insurance Fund will not now kick in for another five years out to 2041. There other ways to deal with that as well.

The point is that if we do not invest in the infrastructure now, it will impact on the competitiveness of the economy. Therefore, the receipts on which we will be dependent at that point will be much less and diminished. We may be satisfied that we have a pool of money sitting in a fund, but if the sacrifice made for doing that is that we have the consequences of the infrastructure and housing deficits, then that is a problem.

I made the point that it is impossible for the Government to meet targets of anywhere near 250,000 homes over the next five years unless it increases the capital ceilings. Under this proposal, there will be an Exchequer deficit in the next two years. This again shows that the Government does not want to budge and look at resources we have which could help solve the housing crisis and unlock some of the deficit bottlenecks we have in the State.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.