Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Dara Calleary says Ireland is poised to miss out on billions of euro of European funding for infrastructure projects unless the Government starts considering Public Private Partnerships.
The Government has submitted dozens of projects for consideration under the €315bn Juncker Plan, but there are real fears that its failure to promote PPPs alongside their projects will reduce our chances of securing funding.
Deputy Calleary commented, “Fine Gael’s failure to invest in public infrastructure over the past 6 years are now coming back to haunt us and this severe under-investment is holding back economic productivity. Despite having Europe’s fastest growing population, spending on infrastructure is half what it was seven years ago leaving us with the second lowest capital spend in Europe.
“It is unconscionable that at a time when investment is so badly needed, the Government appears prepared to leave potentially billions of euro, earmarked for investment in public infrastructure under the Juncker Plan, on the table. This is entirely due to the Department of Finance’s risk aversion to project specific PPP Finance, rather than constraints imposed by the EU Fiscal Rules.
“The Department has ruled out making any contributions to EFSI projects on the basis that the Capital Investment Programme is already funded. While this is true, the level of investment proposed in Government’s Capital Plan is grossly inadequate.
“Despite a huge appetite from investors for large PPP projects in transport and housing, the only Public Infrastructure projects being built with finance under the Juncker Plan are 14 primary health care centres.
“The Government needs to wake up to our infrastructure deficit. Its current policy is arbitrary and out-dated. We need to begin effectively utilising PPP finance under the Plan for Europe to address our infrastructure needs”.