Last year the CIF Galway office established the CIF Western & Midland Regional Infrastructural Forum. The purpose was to identify infrastructural projects that, if constructed, would significantly enhance the region’s ability to create more balanced regional economic development.
The forum is made up of a number of CIF regional and corporate members and is chaired by Gus McCarty, MKO Ireland. It has met regularly throughout the last 12 months with regional politicians, senior local authority representatives as well as state and other bodies involved.
The forum has identified a number of regional projects that are in line with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040. If delivered they would significantly contribute to the region’s economic development.
To ensure Project Ireland 2040 succeeds in its objectives, the state will need to address a number of issues that are impacting the delivery of much needed infrastructure.
These include the length of time it takes to get planning approval for projects to proceed, the need for long-term financial commitment to infrastructural investment and the introduction of a more cost efficient and timely procurement system.
To ensure consistency and long-term commitment to infrastructural investment we would suggest that an independent monitoring body is established – similar to the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission.
This body would consist of independent industry experts who would report to the Government while at the same time being independent of any political party. It would prioritise, plan and monitor the delivery of infrastructural projects and by doing so would create an element of certainty around the future delivery of critical infrastructure.
We will continue to meet with all interested bodies to exchange ideas on what is the best way forward to ensure that regional Ireland’s infrastructural deficits are addressed.