ROAD UPGRADES: of N28 Cork-Ringaskiddy, Dunkettle Interchange, Northern Ring Road, M20 Cork-Limerick, and N25 Cork-Rosslare must remain on agend in spite of COVID-19

22 May 2020
By Elaine Murphy

Ibec, the group that represents many Irish businesses, has launched a major new campaign ‘Reboot & Reimagine’ that provides a framework for a sustainable future for Ireland in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the campaign, Ibec outlines a comprehensive range of policy actions for a reboot & reimagining of the country. Among the key recommendations by Ibec are a €15 billion reboot plan within the first 100 days of a new Government and an increase of €25 billion in the lifetime of the National Development Plan (NDP), through a combination of Exchequer, private and other finance.

Sean Moran, Ibec Cork Regional President. Credit: Julien Behal Photography

Ibec Cork Regional President Seán Moran said:

“Regions will be disproportionately impacted by the crisis. A greater reliance on tourism coupled with decades of underinvestment, particularly in the areas of transport, digital, housing and in our higher education system will leave regions more severely impacted. It is vital that regional access and connectivity is prioritised, given the disproportionate impact of the shocks to the tourism and hospitality sectors on regional economies. Reviewing and upscaling the National Development Plan is essential in order to deliver a major investment stimulus in the recovery phase. Government needs to offset the decline in economic activity with a significant ramping up of capital spending in the region.

“Investment plans, such as the National Broadband Plan and the wider National Development Plan must benefit the regional economy as quickly as possible. An improved and more integrated citywide public transport system including light-rail and BusConnects should be progressed. Critical road infrastructure projects such as the N28 Cork-Ringaskiddy, the Dunkettle Interchange, the Northern Ring Road, the M20 Cork-Limerick and N25 Cork-Rosslare will be more important than ever post crisis. It will, however, be vital to mitigate road transport emissions through the use of clean renewable fuels.”

In its Reboot and Reimagine campaign, Ibec proposes ambitious investment and targeted interventions that will underpin economic recovery in Cork including:

  • Reviewing and upscaling the National Development Plan
  • Bringing forward projects already in the NDP pipeline
  • Reducing capital project delivery timelines by 50%
  • Ensuring the National Planning Framework is fully implemented
  • Rolling out a new €200 million annual town growth fund
  • Accelerating funding for urban and rural regeneration
  • Targeted labour market activation programmes
  • Reintroducing and extending the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector
  • Extending the commercial rates waiver period for impacted businesses
  • Supporting remote working through a combination of tax relief and other supports
  • Investing in skills, education and research and establishing a Technological University in the region

Mr Moran added:

“The aftermath of this crisis will present a real opportunity to stimulate investment in regional economies and place regional development at the heart of the recovery. The cost of borrowing for capital projects is lower than ever. Regional mapping of re-prioritised projects, including planned timelines and project status, should be provided in addition to annual updates on regional capital expenditure. Government must ensure no region is left behind.”

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