A Construction Industry Federation (CIF ) delegation has warned that the West, Midlands, and Northwest regions are being left behind in terms of economic growth, infrastructure, and job creation.
The CIF delegation met with Independent MEP Marian Harkin, on Monday, June 20, to discuss a number of issues impacting on the construction industry and chart a path to recovery for these regions.
Western region director, Justin Molloy, said: “The West, Midlands, and Northwest regions are still experiencing recession and have yet to see a recovery. Policy-makers need to recognise the economic and social benefits of balanced economic growth across these regions as they provide thousands of jobs and generate significant economic growth. The Government must take a number of steps to ensure that these regions are not left behind.
“The construction industry is a strong employer in these regions. We are currently employing an additional 1,000 people a month across the industry. Significant investment in infrastructure in the regions will generate employment in the construction industry; that in turn will support regional economic growth and in time provide a counterbalance to the rapid disproportionate growth of Dublin. At the moment, the economic gravity of Dublin is leading to young people leaving the regions seeking employment and opportunity. In the long term if not addressed, these regions could become isolated and stagnate.”
Mr Molloy said the delegation discussed with Ms Harkin how the EU can support regional development and how current Government policy needs to be changed to generate economic growth in the regions. The also discussed the issue of access to development finance for the contractors who would build infrastructure and housing in the areas.
They communicated how Central Bank lending rates to construction SMEs are preventing regional contractors from employing people and building, something the CIF says threatens the long-term viability of the regions. In addition, the duration of the planning process relating to house building and infrastructure projects was discussed. “Streamlining the planning process can significantly reduce the cost of building,” Mr Molloy said. “This will make it viable for contractors to build again.”