CIF Director General Hubert Fitzpatrick: Investing in infrastructure across regional and rural Ireland is essential for our growing nation

by | May 20, 2024

Balanced regional development is central to safeguarding sustainable economic performance in Ireland and to supporting the wellbeing of Irish citizens, wherever they live.

Regional and rural Ireland has a huge contribution to make to the success of the country, but we can only harness this potential if these areas are a focus of investment.

The reality remains unchanged that a lack of funding for infrastructure and housing has placed many towns and communities at a disadvantage socially and economically.

With the country’s population now at 5.2 million and growing, balanced regional development is of critical importance for the entire country and is a key policy focus for our members.

Building strong communities and creating places for people to work and live is vital. Our regional branches across the South, West, Midland, Northern and Eastern regions are working hard to represent the concerns of the construction industry on the need for urgent progress.

In the west and northwest, the lack of investment in infrastructure over the last 20 years is challenging the region’s ability to attract domestic and foreign direct investment and in turn create jobs.

The region has much to offer, from the vibrancy of Galway city to the rugged beauty of the Atlantic coast.

This is surely a factor in it being home to large multinationals from disciplines including technology and pharma. Dexcom, the latest multinational to announce a base in the West, recently broke ground on its new manufacturing plant.

We want to see more of this, but we need supportive infrastructure in place. Lack of adequate infrastructure is also the source of development constraints in the southern region.

The advancement of the M28 has been positive, but we need decisions on the N25, which is a key access corridor to the east from Cork, as well as the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway.

The anticipated Events Centre Project for Cork City is a key piece of infrastructure to ensure the continuity of investment and tourism, placing Cork as a vital regional city. The impact on the wider region and benefits that will come from such a development are crucial to the Government’s strategy of creating strong regional centres.

Projects like this provide prime examples of public investment encouraging private investment to facilitate the creation of sustainable, modern, attractive locations for our increasing population.

As a country, we need to be more optimistic in our view of Ireland and the infrastructure that is needed. We know that Ireland will continue to grow and that investment in infrastructure will pay for itself in so many different ways, so we must continue to invest and build.

We welcome the revision of the National Planning Framework, currently underway, and are hopefully that this will allow us as a country to forward plan our built environment in a more efficient and timely manner.

The May 2024 edition of Construction magazine provides a critical and insider perspective into how the construction industry is collaborating on major projects across Ireland.

From Cork’s Dunkettle Interchange, profiled as part of this month’s Big Picture Project, to master tradesperson Paul Griffin, the
preservation plasterer helping restore some of the nation’s most recognisable and culturally significant buildings so they can be enjoyed for generations to come, there is much to be optimistic about.

The CIF also endeavours to support and champion industry growth and prosperity within the regions.

The upcoming Southern Construct Summit and Exhibition, which takes place on May 24, will showcase the depth
of skill and expertise Ireland has to offer when it comes to the delivery of high quality projects that are essential to a thriving society.

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