Construction activity must normalise

Ireland’s economy needs to return to normal levels of construction activity if we are to return to growth and recovery, according to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan.

He was speaking at a Stakeholder Workshop in Government Buildings this morning focussing on the key areas of infrastructure investment; commercial and residential property; and the Construction Sector’s role in supporting the domestic economy and jobs.

“Since taking office it has been the priority of this Government to do everything it can to help get Ireland working again and to support jobs and growth. The construction sector has suffered more than most, and there is evidence to suggest that there has been an overcorrection in relation to its size and contribution to the economy and job creation. Our job is to make sure the Government is doing all it can to optimise opportunities in the sector and maximise employment, and Government intends to work with the industry to bring the construction sector back to more appropriate and sustainable levels,” Minister Hogan said.

“There are almost 90,000 unemployed construction workers who want and need to get to back to work and we must identify ways of getting them back into the workforce. Convening this forum brings all the relevant stakeholders together and Government wants to hear what they have to say and how we might stimulate the property and construction sectors. We are seeing some increased demand for commercial properties taking place and we need to grow this and replicate it elsewhere. This forum is very timely and takes place in the context of next Octobers budget,”

The Minister noted the Government’s commitment to capital investment following this week’s announcement of an additional E150 million this year for school, local road and social housing energy efficiency investment.

“Also within my own remit, under the reform of the Local Government sector, we are providing for a greater focus on employment at local level through the establishment of Local Enterprise Offices. Last month I opened the first of these offices and I expect that by the end of the year they will be in place in all County Councils. LEOs will be at the heart of supporting and creating local jobs,” added Minister Hogan.

While the theme of the construction forum was optimisation and job creation, the rationale for this one off event was to provide an opportunity for consultation and engagement among key stakeholders in order to think through how best to respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the construction and property sector, including in particular the job creation potential.

Among the participants in the workshop were representatives from Forfas, SEAI, CIF, the CSO, construction professionals as well as officials from Government departments. Source: Business World