Monday, 29 January 2007

Engineers Ireland allays concerns that NDP will boost inflation

Concerns expressed about excessive construction inflation and cost overruns in respect of the new €184 billion National Development Plan are being over-stated - according to the Director General of Engineers Ireland, Kevin Kernan.

"While it is understandable that this matter should be raised, the clear record of the last couple of years in respect of major infrastructural projects in terms of timely delivery and being on budget, highlights the expertise now built up in the engineering and allied sectors" - he said.

Mr. Kernan said that the threat to the timely delivery of key elements of the new NDP should not be understated either - and "it remains to be seen if the Strategic Infrastructure Act - specifically aimed at speeding up the planning process, including processing objections - can achieve a real breakthrough when these problems arise."

He added - "In order to ensure value for money in the NDP, it will be vital that projects are clearly defined and scoped prior to tendering. Recent experience has indicated that demand for infrastructure has usually been underestimated - so, it is essential that this time around, capacity is provided ahead of demand."

The Engineers Ireland Director General also warmly welcomed the emphasis in the new Plan on achieving balanced regional development - and the focus on further ICT and broadband development, as vital to achieving the goal of transforming Ireland into a knowledge economy.

"It is essential that the NDP is closely linked to the key elements of the National Spatial Strategy - updated in line with data from last year's census."

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