The construction industry can become one of the key driver’s of Ireland’s economic recovery over the next few years, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).
The CIF cited the capacity of the industry to deliver thousands of jobs spread across the country, the need to deliver a substantial number of new housing units, the strong impact on tax revenue generated by the sector and the ancillary employment created by the sector.
“Our sector is now very well poised to undertake a strong period of growth,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon. “Over the last 12 to 18 months we have started to see an industry generating activity again. Tenders are on the up, confidence is returning and this is leading to more construction work taking place all around the country.
“The impact of that spurt of activity is tangible. There has been a strong improvement in the level of employment provided by the industry. Between Q1 and Q2 of this year, the CSO recorded a 4,000 increase in construction employment. That is a significant jump and it is one which the sector is more than capable of increasing in the months ahead. There are also the indirect jobs created by the increase in construction activity – amongst suppliers and in shops and other businesses near construction sites.
“Those increased employment numbers will have a major impact on the generation of income tax, while also reducing the State’s social welfare burden. Of course the sector will also help generate additional revenue in the form of VAT and stamp duty on the delivery of new housing projects – particularly as this will be an area which will have to grow in the next few years.
“When you consider the increase in the level of house building that is going to have take place in this country over the coming years, there will be a lot more construction activity taking place. This will be coupled with a wide range of other construction projects such as the promised delivery of enhanced public infrastructure, schools, hospitals and other public sector projects.
“You also have to look at the macro picture. In their strategy for the sector published earlier this year the Government has targeted the creation of 60,000 construction jobs by 2020. They have also stated that the sector should account for 12 percent of GNP. That would be approximately double its current size.
“Taking all these elements into consideration, the construction industry is very well poised to become a key driver of economic growth in the Irish economy. Our sector can be an engine towards prosperity. We are not advocating an over reliance on construction activity as was a problem in the past. But our industry can provide a sustainable contribution to the economy which will boost the general economic performance of this country in the years ahead,” Mr. Parlon concluded.
The comments were made at the CIF Annual Conference which took place in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The conference was attended by over 250 senior representatives from Ireland’s leading construction companies and suppliers.