Funding cuts will be catastrophic for creaking public transport system

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Longford/Westmeath TD, Deputy Robert Troy, has called on Minister Ross to ensure that vital funding for transport infrastructure will not be cut as a result of the negligent overspend on the National Children’s Hospital.

Deputy Troy was commenting as reports state that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will need to find savings of €30 million in its capital budget this year alone.

“While it is well known that the Government needs to make up the massive overspend, it is totally unacceptable for the bulk of this funding to come from the Department of Transport. The impacts this would have on an already creaking public transport system will be catastrophic.

“A €100m funding gap will have to be plugged this year alone and the €30 million being scrounged from the Department of Transport is massively disproportionate to what other Departments are being asked for. It reinforces my view that Minister Ross has very little influence around the cabinet table,” Deputy Troy remarked.

Deputy Troy also queried the motives of Sinn Fein who, he believes, have shown little responsibility with regard to the A5 project, now in jeopardy.

“Sinn Féin also have a lot to answer for. The collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly has put the proposed A5 project is in jeopardy. They have abdicated themselves of all responsibility and Minister Ross is doing likewise when in reality he should be engaging with his UK counterparts and with civil servants in Northern Ireland to ensure the project gets on track.

“Fianna Fáil will bring the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment ) Bill 2017 before the Dáil. It provides for enhanced oversight on capital spending and ensures that an automatic C&AG review of capital projects is triggered if costs rise by a certain amount. This would place Ireland in line with international best practise and ensure we learn lessons from the National Children’s hospital overspend scandal”, the Deputy concluded.

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